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Star trio on their way to Portstewart for Irish Open

 

By Adam McKendry

As the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club gets ever closer, three more star names have been added to the field. Ryder Cup veteran Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters (below), who played for Europe at Hazeltine in 2016, and Andrew 'Beef' Johnston will all make their way to the north coast from July 6-9 to compete.

World No.26 Pieters, from Belgium, will be among the favourites to win the event having recorded three top-five finishes in his last eight events, including fourth at The Masters in April.

Englishman Poulter is best known for his excellent matchplay performances in the Ryder Cup, while the enigmatic Johnston is a fan favourite for his wild facial hair and antics on the golf course.

They join a phenomenal field already assembled at Portstewart that includes World No.2 Hideki Matsuyama, in-form Spaniard Jon Rahm, Englishmen Justin Rose and Tyrrell Hatton, and tournament host and defending champion Rory McIlroy.

Two local competitors have also been added to the entry list in the shape of former European Tour star Michael Hoey and Ballymena's Dermot McElroy.

"This is certainly one of the strongest fields I've ever seen for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, if not the strongest," tournament host McIlroy said. "It's shaping up for an incredible week."

McIlroy is level par at the midway stage of the Travelers Championship after a three-over par second round yesterday.

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