Record ticket sales for The Open at Portrush
Fifth of entire allocation for next year sold in 48 hours
Golf fans have snapped up tickets for the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush in "unprecedented" numbers.
Organisers said it was the fastest selling ticket launch in the history of the event.
The new record was set when more than 20% of the entire ticket allocation for next year's 148th Open was sold within 48 hours of going on sale, golf's ruling body, The R&A, confirmed yesterday.
It comes after Ulster golf fans had their appetites whetted at the recent Irish Open, held in Ballyliffin, Co Donegal, this month.
Nearly 95,000 spectators are estimated to have attended the event in the Republic. However, it is expected numbers will at least double to around 190,000 people, as fans flock to Northern Ireland's north coast next July.
It is expected the 2019 event at Royal Portrush will mark the very first time The Open will sell out - as well as heralding the return of the championship to the island of Ireland for the first time in almost 70 years, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director of Championships at The R&A, explained.
And it will be only the second time that The Open has been held outside of England or Scotland.
As such, the level of demand is expected to soar, and The R&A is advising fans to secure their tickets well in advance.
"Monday's record-breaking ticket sales underline the level of excitement there is among fans at the prospect of The Open returning to the island of Ireland for the first time in almost 70 years," said Mr Cole-Hamilton.
"I would encourage fans to sign up to The One Club as early as possible and ensure that they book their place at Royal Portrush for what is set to be a truly historic and memorable occasion in 2019."
There has also been high demand for hospitality experiences, with its Links Club tickets already sold out for Saturday and Sunday, leaving only limited availability for weekly packages.
Priority tickets are available now exclusively to members of The One Club at TheOpen.com/TheOneClub for a limited time.
Registration is free and guarantees first access to tickets, as well as a range of other benefits.
The 148th Open will be played at Royal Portrush from July 14 to 21, 2019, and tickets can be purchased at TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets.
All new members of The One Club will receive immediate access to priority tickets.
Children under the age of 16 will be able to attend the championship for free alongside an adult guardian under The Open's Kids Go Free programme.
Meanwhile, those aged under 25 can purchase tickets at reduced prices and benefit from free camping.