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Lough Erne pro Lynn McCool recounts enduring friendship with star

By Peter Hutcheon

Arnold Palmer was always known as a gracious host, and that was certainly the case for Strabane's Lynn McCool who struck up a great friendship with the seven-time major winner.

The Lough Erne professional first met Arnold around 12 years ago in Florida and must have made quite an impression as she was soon being invited back to see him.

"I met him through going to the PGA Show in America and I was lucky enough to be introduced to him," Lynn recalled last night.

"Then one year I was fortunate enough to be there for his corporate sponsors' day at Bay Hill and I was asked to go and play in it.

"Arnold came out to see me play a shot, it was a par three, and my hands were shaking when I played that shot.

"It was lovely to be invited back a few years later and to a pool party where we met all his family and friends.

"And then a couple of years ago it was great to be able to go back with my dad and introduce him as well. That was very special that they got to meet."

Palmer played twice in Northern Ireland at the British Senior Open at Royal Portrush in 1995 and again at Royal County Down in 2002.

"People obviously will remember him for his golf, but he did so much for his community as well.

"I was lucky enough to be able to go to one of his hospitals he had built.

"He had such an aura about him. When you go to Bay Hill you feel it when you arrive, the whole ambience of the place. It's like one big family. He had such an impact.

"I only found out that he started the Golf Channel in America after I had met him.

"He influenced the game in so many different ways and it was a privilege to have met him."

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