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Golf-mad Niall Horan heading in our direction after he signs up for Northern Ireland Open event

By Laura Abernethy

Published 13/07/2016

Niall Horan as caddie for Rory McIlroy before the 2015 Masters in Augusta
Niall Horan as caddie for Rory McIlroy before the 2015 Masters in Augusta

Niall Horan is making the most of One Direction's hiatus as he prepares to take on the pro-am event at the Northern Ireland Open later this month.

The golf-mad boy-band star has been spotted on courses across the world and now he's heading for the event at Galgorm Castle.

In May, he showed off his swing at the Irish Open, which was hosted by Rory McIlroy's Rory Foundation.

McIlroy and Horan have become firm friends on and off the course. In 2015, the singer famously had a slip-up as he caddied for McIlroy at the Masters Par 3 Contest at Augusta.

But now Horan and other household names like Northern Ireland goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings and Ulster rugby player Stephen Ferris will take part in the pro-am day at the NI Open.

The pro-am day will mark the official opening of the week-long festival.

Horan said: "The NI Open is such a great event for all the family and we are sure to have a bit of fun on and off the course during the pro-am. I recommend all the family comes along to Galgorm and gets involved because there is so much to see and do. I for one can't wait to play Galgorm."

The four-piece boy-band are currently on a "pro-longed break" to allow them to focus on their own projects

Horan is reportedly working on his own solo material but he has also set up Modest! Golf Management, to help spot upcoming golf stars.

He said: "I'm delighted to be involved in the Northern Ireland Open and to get the chance to play in the pro-am and represent Modest! Golf Management."

The company have also invited Northern Ireland's latest teenage sensation Tom McKibbin to compete at Galgorm.

The 13-year-old won the Junior Honda Classic and the World Junior Championships last August and he was invited to play alongside his idol McIlory in the pro-am tournament at the Irish Open, held at the K Club in May.

"The next generation of golfers is a huge focus for us as a business," said Horan.

"You need only look at the history of the Challenge Tour to see the calibre of player it produces.

"Tom has clearly got it; he has his head screwed on plus he's a really nice lad.

"It's a great opportunity for him and hopefully he'll make the best out of it. We want to look at young lads like Tom and give them a chance. He's the future of the game."

The festival of golf, combined with the dedicated food festival and NI Open Village, will run at Galgorm Castle from July 28-31.

The event will be free to enter by registering online at niopen.golf.

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