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Maybin set to contest the record-breaking Irish Open

By Frank Brownlow

Published 23/05/2015

On course: Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell with golfer Gareth Maybin and Tourism NI’s Karen Hope
On course: Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell with golfer Gareth Maybin and Tourism NI’s Karen Hope

Gareth Maybin will play in next week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down, fast approaching a record-breaking sell-out with all tickets for the final three days now gone.

Only Thursday tickets now remain for the event - hosted by Rory McIlroy's Foundation - but they are expected to go soon.

Fans will still of course be able to watch some of the game's top stars in action at the practice day on Tuesday and the Pro Am on Wednesday.

Ballyclare golfer Maybin - along with Simon Thornton, who began his career as an assistant professional at Royal County Down - secured a sponsor's invitation.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said: "Despite losing their European Tour cards, Gareth and Simon were the highest ranked locally based golfers at the closing of the Irish Open entry deadline.

"They are both superb ambassadors for the sport, which is why it is fitting that, as tournament sponsors, my department through Tourism NI has been able to secure invitations for them to play.

"Gareth and Simon will join a who's who of golfing greats led by world number one and four-time Major champion Rory McIlroy, who is of course hosting the tournament on behalf of his charity.

"Northern Ireland's other Major winners Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell will also tee off at Royal County Down, joining a field of many of golf's most exciting names, including five of the world's top 20 players and five former world number ones.

"The superb line-up, combined with the track record Northern Ireland has already established by hosting the record-breaking 2012 Irish Open (at Royal Portrush), has put the tournament on track to completely sell out," he added.

"More than 80,000 spectators are expected to pack out one of our best golf courses and one of our most scenic seaside towns for the event, so it is more than fitting that Gareth and Simon can join our Major-winning champions and the star-studded field to compete in front of these crowds."

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