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Irish Open: Sell-out will go down in history just like Portrush

By Peter Hutcheon

Golf fans have been urged not to turn up without a ticket at the Irish Open as all four days are now officially sold out.

The final tickets for today's first round disappeared yesterday and 80,000 people will head to the Royal County Down course across the tournament.

It's only the second time in European Tour history that an event has completely sold out in advance. The first time was, of course, the same tournament at Royal Portrush in 2012.

"The success of Royal Portrush in 2012 was always going to be a hard act to follow but we are delighted to report that this year's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation, has now completely sold out," said Antonia Beggs, the European Tour's Championship Director for the Irish Open.

"This year's event has surpassed all of our initial expectations and much of it is down to the support of one man in particular and that is Rory McIlroy.

"The star-studded field that Rory has managed to attract to Royal County Down and the personal drive and commitment that he has displayed to make this tournament the best that it can be has been beyond amazing.

"We cannot stress enough that, whilst we welcome visitors to Newcastle to enjoy the festivities that have been put in place around the event, it is very important that people don't turn up at the gate without a ticket, as they won't get in."

Around 11,000 braved the rain for yesterday's pro-am event which was won in the morning by former world number one Martin Kaymer.

His team for the Rory Foundation finished on a medal score of 19 under, one ahead of the BMW team led by Scotland's Marc Warren.

Darren Clarke's team for Tourism NI of former Aussie leg spinner Shane Warne, former Ulster rugby skipper Stephen Ferris and BBC NI's Stephen Watson, were one further back in third. Three businessmen, Billy Rosenthal, Fred Carillo and Tom Lovino, stumped up around £150,000 to play with McIlroy. The places on his team were decided by an auction at a charity event on Tuesday evening for Daisy Lodge.

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