The securing of a prestigious tournament by a North Down golf club has been welcomed as the potential start of the return of events to Northern Ireland.
First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill visited Clandeboye Golf Club in Bangor on Wednesday to offer their congratulations.
The PGA EuroPro Northern Ireland Masters Golf Tournament is a developmental tour which attracts an international field including players from Australia, South Africa and Europe.
It will take place at Clandeboye Golf Club from August 16 to 21.
Mrs Foster said she hopes it will be the start of more events returning following coronavirus restrictions.
“We want to see more events because with events comes investment and tourists come as well,” she said.
“Golf continues to deliver for Northern Ireland as part of our tourism offering. I anticipate that this tournament will further cement our position as a ‘must play’ destination for golfers.”
She described the tournament as a “very special” event which offers a “fantastic opportunity for the next generation of golfing stars to showcase their talents on an international stage”.
“It is also an important platform for the Clandeboye club. I hope that this will be a stepping stone to greater things, as it proved to be for the previous tour host, Galgorm,” she said.
Ms O’Neill added: “Huge congratulations to Clandeboye Golf Club for securing such a prestigious event and all the benefits that’s going to bring.
“We’re delighted to be here today to promote what is going to be a great showcase of local golf talent.”
She described the securing of the tournament as a “real vote of confidence by the European Tour”.
“I congratulate all those involved in planning and delivering this special event,” she said.
Owen Trainor, Clandeboye Golf Club captain, said: “We want to build on the success of the Open, Irish Open and ISPS Handa World Invitational and see a ripple effect spread to County Down, demonstrating that we have the facilities, infrastructure and the ambition to host prestige golf events.
“We also want to highlight Northern Ireland golf as a model to involve and inspire younger players by creating a unifying spirit through golf and sport. This PGA EuroPro Northern Ireland Masters Golf event, over the next three years, enables us to do that.”
The EuroPro Tour is the world’s most widely broadcast tour for aspiring young professionals, reaching 500 million homes in 142 countries through Sky Sports.