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Irish aim to be kings at Lough Erne

 

By Adam McKendry

The International King's Cup gets under way today at the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh as two teams of amateurs from Ireland and the USA battle it out on the Faldo Course.

The King's Cup returns to the picturesque lakeside resort for the second staging of the competition, with Ireland looking to defend their title.

Sixteen players on each side will face off in a Ryder Cup-style tournament, held today and tomorrow, which is played in honour of the late Arnold Palmer, with this week's event the first to be held since his death last September.

This year, golfers from all four Irish provinces competed to be part of the team, while qualifiers were held across the USA, with players ranging from scratch handicaps to mid-teens.

There will be two sessions today - four fourballs in the morning and four foursomes in the afternoon - before all 32 players compete in singles tomorrow.

It's a tournament that is growing in interest, as reflected in the need for provincial qualifiers, and plans are already in place for the King's Cup to be held at Palmer's Bay Hill Resort in Florida as early as 2019.

Lough Erne's PGA Professional, Lynn McCool, is one of the driving forces behind the event and said: "The King's Cup is an event that's getting bigger and bigger, I think what we've put together is special.

"The course is absolutely superb, the whole definition of it is fantastic and the feedback from the players is great."

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter is seeking a first win since 2012 on what used to be one of his least favourite courses in this week's BMW PGA Championship.

"I'm looking forward to getting out on the course, because this tournament deserves a golf course in fantastic condition," said Poulter, who was 26th on his last appearance here in 2014.

"It has been pretty much a flagship event for a very long time. It's the home of the Tour. Everyone knows Wentworth and it really should be one of the best courses on the rota that we play.

"It's a tournament where I feel I should have played a lot better. Why I haven't performed as well, I'm not really sure.

"So I'm absolutely delighted that it's been changed. I think the changes last time, on a number of holes, were too severe."

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