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Prestige Kings Cup golf tournament to tee off at Lough Erne once again after 2016 success

By Robert Jones

Fermanagh's five-star Lough Erne Resort is to host the qualifying and final stages of one of the most prestigious trophies in amateur golf, the Kings Cup, for a second year running. Ardglass will also be involved in the qualifying.

Billed as the amateur Ryder Cup, the International Kings Cup Match Play Event is played in honour of golf's greatest ambassador, Arnold Palmer. Four provincial qualifiers will be staged across Ireland in a bid to find the best Irish team to take on the USA in a three-day, 54-hole Matchplay tournament from May 22-25 this year.

The event is structured like the Ryder Cup and was created in 2016 when the United States Golf Challenge, the largest pairs better ball tournament, brought their leading 16-man amateur team to Lough Erne to compete against Ireland in the first International Kings Cup.

The format of the event is unique as it is open to every holder of an official GUI handicap and there are four flights of handicaps so everyone can enter. There are also two age brackets from which two-man teams can qualify (age 18+ and Senior 50+) to try and secure a spot on the Irish team.

There are two stages of qualification with the first being held across leading courses in each province. Eight teams from each qualifier will go forward to compete in a final qualifying stage to be played on the Faldo Course at Lough Erne on April 23.

Lynn McCool, Director of Golf and Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort, said: "Following the success of the 2016 staging, this is one of the most eagerly anticipated amateur tournaments in 2017. We are thrilled to be hosting this event for the second consecutive year.

"I'm delighted to take the event this year to key courses throughout Ireland. Each of the qualifying clubs have really got behind the event, including Ardglass Golf Club in Ulster (Friday, March 24).

"Competitors will be able to experience first hand why Northern Ireland is truly a land made for golf."

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