Belfast Telegraph

Cowan joins quality field for World Invitational

 

Jetting in: Olivia Cowan has signed up for the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle GC and Massereene GC in August
Jetting in: Olivia Cowan has signed up for the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle GC and Massereene GC in August
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Germany's Olivia Cowan is the latest name to sign up for the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle GC and Massereene GC in August.

The 23-year-old currently sits inside the top-10 on the Ladies European Tour money list and is coming off a strong third-placed finish last weekend at the Thailand Championship.

Cowan joins an already impressive field for the tournament, which also includes Laura Fuenfstueck (Germany), Lina Boqvist (Sweden) and Diksha Dagar (India), who also rank in the top-10 on the European Tour's money list.

Also competing will be home favourites Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire, both of whom compete regularly on the LPGA Tour in America, while former Curtis Cup player and 27-time career winner Trish Johnson has also signed up to compete.

The men's side of the draw also has several high-profile names, with three-time European Tour winner Gregory Havret confirming his place in the field last week alongside Challenge Tour stars Connor Syme, Ben Stow and Ewen Ferguson, as well as local hopeful Michael Hoey.

In a ground-breaking new format, the tournament, which replaces the Northern Ireland Open and runs from August 15-18, will see men and women compete on the same courses, with all competitors playing one round at Galgorm Castle and one at Massereene.

After those two rounds, there will be a halfway cut mark, with those progressing to the weekend playing the final two rounds at Galgorm Castle.

Both the men and women will compete for equal prize money, and there will be a men's and women's winner after the four rounds.

Niall Horan, owner of Modest! Golf, who run the tournament, explained: "We have created the opportunity for women to perform on the same stage as men and compete for the same prize fund.

"I am delighted so many women professionals from around the world have already seized the opportunity to compete in the new World Invitational."

Consistently one of the most attended events on the men's Challenge Tour, the event has increased in popularity over the years and is set for its biggest year yet with the inclusion of a women's competition as well.

The event will also have live music and a food village by the clubhouse at Galgorm Castle to encourage families to attend.

"Our company ethos is simple; we are trying to grow the game and to look out for the next generation of player," added Horan.

"We achieved that in the men's game with the hugely successful NI Open and now we have provided a wonderful opportunity for women professionals to compete alongside the men.

"I've said it before, but I actually think this is a bigger day for European golf than we think."

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