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Dermot McElroy talks up home comforts provided by the Northern Ireland Galgorm course

By Paul Kelly

Published 27/07/2016

In a good place: Dermot McElroy is on familiar terrain this week
In a good place: Dermot McElroy is on familiar terrain this week

Dermot McElroy is hoping the familiar surroundings of Galgorm Castle can help him make a smooth transition from the amateur to professional ranks at the Tayto NI Open this week.

The 23-year-old from Ballymena is a regular at the Co Antrim venue and actually tied for ninth back in 2013 as an amateur, seven shots behind winner Daan Huizing.

"I can't really pick a better spot for me," said the Irish international who won the West of Ireland Championship last year.

"I know the course so well. It's really just about finding a bit of form and playing well. I've played a couple of practice rounds and I've a bit of work to do. Hopefully, I can find some over the next couple of days.

"Driving is going to be key this week.

"The rough is seriously thick, they've somehow managed to get it growing against you and it's really heavy and wet. You'll be struggling to reach the green if you get in it."

Dermot had previously indicated that he was intending to turn professional at the end of the amateur season but when he was offered a chance to play in Galgorm, he thought the time was right to take the plunge.

He added: "I only really had two amateur events left so I said to myself 'why not go now?'

"I had the opportunity to play this week and hopefully I've a good chance of playing in the Challenge Tour event in Mount Wolseley at the end of September so I just thought there was no point in waiting any longer."

Huizing, meanwhile, is also returning to play in Galgorm, searching for the form that saw him edge out Oliver Wilson in a play-off to claim the title in 2013.

"I think it's one of the most fun tournaments in the whole year with all the crowds," said the Dutchman.

"The people are very nice and I enjoy the course a lot and I played well there last year as well, so I'm excited to go there.

"The year has been very up and down. I've been feeling very good about my game but not really showing it results-wise."

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