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N Ireland 'home to best golfers'

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Fans at Dungannon Golf Club, Northern Ireland, Darren Clarke's home club, celebrate his Open Championship victory

Fans at Dungannon Golf Club, Northern Ireland, Darren Clarke's home club, celebrate his Open Championship victory

Fans at Dungannon Golf Club, Northern Ireland, Darren Clarke's home club, celebrate his Open Championship victory

Scotland may be the spiritual home of golf but Northern Ireland is unquestionably the home of the world's best golfers, Stormont's First Minister has declared with pride.

In the wake of Darren Clarke's win in the Open Championship, Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness hailed the region's extraordinary feats in professional golf.

Clarke's victory is the third Major triumph by a Northern Ireland golfer in the space of 13 months, coming after Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy's back to back US Open wins.

"Darren's win at Royal St George's is one of golf's greatest achievements," said Democratic Unionist leader Mr Robinson.

"There is simply no more deserving or popular a winner than Darren. I along with all the people of Northern Ireland would like to congratulate him on becoming the Open champion.

"Scotland may be the spiritual home of golf but Northern Ireland is unquestionably home to the world's best golfers. I once again would say to the golfing world to come to Northern Ireland to see for themselves why we are the home of golf's champions."

Sinn Fein's Mr McGuinness said it was simply staggering that the region had produced yet another major winner.

"Only a matter of a few weeks ago we were congratulating Rory McIlroy on winning the US Open and today we are able to congratulate Dungannon's Darren Clarke on becoming the Open champion," he said.

"I cannot think of anyone who deserved to win a major more than Darren has. Over the course of the past four days and throughout his career Darren has conducted himself with a grace and quiet determination that is nothing short of outstanding."

The Stormont leaders led the congratulations coming from all shades of political opinion in Northern Ireland and beyond.

PA


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