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Hundreds of mini McIlroys feast eyes on winning top junior event

By Frank Brownlow

Local starlets are set to get the chance to follow in the footsteps of Ulster’s own Rory McIlroy.

The US Open champion will — along with fellow Major winners Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell — lead the home challenge at next month’s Irish Open at Royal Portrush.

And a few weeks before the world class action tees off on the North Coast, local juniors aged five to 16 will get the opportunity to experience tournament action at the popular Forest Feast Junior Golf Festival on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 — an event McIlroy himself has competed in.

The tournament is organised and hosted by Blackwood Golf Centre — near Bangor — in association with partners the Belfast Telegraph, Ping and Junior Golf Ireland.

The inaugural Forest Feast Primary School Cup will take place on the opening day followed by the Junior Golfer of the Year competition on the Saturday.

The Junior Golfer of the Year is one of the few competitions that welcomes juniors with an official handicap and those who haven’t had the chance to get one as yet.

For the experienced youngsters with handicaps there is a stableford competition while novice players can have a go at the fun par three event.

“The emphasis is all about having fun and hopefully inspiring juniors to follow in the footsteps of our great local golf stars,” said Forest Feast marketing manager Deirdre Burns.

“Professionals are noticing big turnouts of ‘mini McIlroys’ each week for their junior competitions,” added Debbie Hanna, PGA professional at Blackwood Golf Centre and Ulster girls coach.

“Nowhere has Rory McIlroy’s influence been more apparent than in the junior sections of golf clubs across Northern Ireland,” said Gary Lavery from Junior Golf Ireland, the body charged with developing golf at grassroots level in Ireland.

Entry forms are available now at www.forestfeast.com or www.blackwoodgolfcentre.com or by telephoning 9185 2706.

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