Chris Carvill and Gary Wardlow claim their Northern Ireland Open spots
Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park GC) and Gary Wardlow (QUB) overcame high winds and a strong field at Knock Golf Club to earn their spots in the 2015 Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle from August 6-9.
Belvoir Park assistant pro Carvill was the only player to break par in very windy conditions on the pristine east-Belfast course.
Carvill's 69 was three shots clear of a trio of 72s; Gary Wardlow (QUB), Chris Carroll (Shandon Park) and Damian Mooney (Ballyliffin) tied for second place and entered a sudden-death playoff to secure the second qualifying spot.
After all three players drove within close proximity of the first green the advantage appeared to be with Carroll, who pitched to within 10 feet of the hole, whilst Mooney and Wardlow's birdie attempts would come from 15 and 18 feet respectively.
Wardlow duly holed his putt for birdie and with Mooney and Carroll both narrowly missing, Wardlow had secured his spot for the NI Open.
The NI Open has captured the imagination in recent years with record crowds attending Galgorm to see the likes of Michael Hoey, Tournament Ambassador and five-time European Tour winner and other household names in action.
"We are fortunate the NI Open holds a key date on the international schedule and will be looking to attract the game's top players to what promises to be another festival of tournament golf," said Gary Henry, Galgorm Managing Director and NI Open Tournament Director.
Next week, Redditch GC in England will host the second Professionals' pre-qualifier when over 60 players will battle it out to earn two places available for the NI Open.
Amateurs have their chance to qualify for the NI Open through the annual North of Ireland Amateur Strokeplay. The 36-hole strokeplay event will take place at Galgorm on Tuesday June 9, with the winner to receive an invite to the NI Open.
Entry is £25 (€30) and the closing date is Monday May 25. Entry forms are available via www.niopen.co.uk/news