Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland golf fans smash another Tour record

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Irish golf fans have broken yet another record - this time at the recent Northern Ireland Open.

More supporters than ever before came through the gates to watch a Challenge Tour event at Galgorm Castle GC as over 55,000 people had registered for tickets for the tournament with 43,495 flocking to the event over the course of the week.

Northern Ireland also holds the record for the biggest attendance at a European Tour event with the 112,000 spectators that turned up to see Jamie Donaldson win the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush.

This year's NI Open culminated in the brand new Sunday Shootout format, which eventually saw Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist come out on top after a series of six hole matches on the final day.

The top 24 players after the opening three rounds made it through to Sunday and, even though Northern Ireland's interested ended with Cormac Sharvin's early exit on the final day, local golf fans turned out in force to see Sciot-Siegrist edge out Italian Alessandro Tadini in the decider.

“It’s amazing,” said the 23 year old victory. “The format is great. Six holes, you have to be really in it from the very beginning, you don’t have a chance to make any mistakes, and it’s great to change the format from what we usually play and I really enjoyed it.

“I thought it was a fun event and I hope that in the future it will happen again – it’s unbelievable how many people are here this week, everything is full, the grandstands, it’s incredible how these crowds come out in Northern Ireland.”

The prize was presented by Irish music star Niall Horan, whose company Modest! Golf presented the tournament and whose fans no doubt helped the crowds to reach record numbers.

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