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Northern Ireland Open: Live updates and leaderboard from Galgorm

The Northern Ireland Open has become one of the standout events on the European Challenge Tour so it's little surprise that some of the game's top players were quick to add it to their schedule.

This is Galgorm Castle's third year of hosting the €170,000 event and a record attendance of over 34,000 fans came through the gates in 2014 to witness Sweden's Joakim Lagergren clinch the €27,200 top prize.

>>Leaderboard - Northern Ireland Open scores<<

One of the main attractions will be five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey, who is also the NI Open Tournament Ambassador and Galgorm's Touring Professional.

"I am not going in with any expectations this year, none whatsoever," said Hoey, who missed the cut in both of the last two years. He has shown good form recently however, after reaching the quarter-final of last week's Paul Lawrie Match Play event on the main European Tour.

"There is no doubt the field is strengthened by the date. It means European Tour regulars like Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie and Simon Thornton and others can all play."

Thornton (St Omer Open 2013), McGrane (Volvo China Open 2008) and Lawrie (Open de Espana 2008) are all European Tour winners and bring a wealth of experience to the event.

Other former European Tour winners at Galgorm include England's Nick Dougherty and Ross McGowan plus Wales' Phillip Price, who famously defeated Phil Mickelson in the singles of the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry.

Javier Ballesteros has one of the most famous surnames in golf and the son of legendary five-time Major winner Seve will be hoping to make a big impression this week. Ballesteros is one of many aspiring professionals cutting his teeth on the European Challenge Tour after turning professional last year.

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