McElroy & Galbraith among four amateurs added to NI Open field
Dermot McElroy and Irish Close champion JR Galbraith are among four top local amateurs who have been nominated to compete at the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle later this month.
The Golfing Union of Ireland have selected McElroy and Galbraith along with East of Ireland winner Colm Campbell and Ardglass's Cormac Sharvin.
Ballymena man McElroy finished in a share of ninth in last year's event.
That represented a superb showing for McElroy in the Challenge Tour event.
With Galgorm Castle touring professional Michael Hoey again leading this year's entry, a strong field looks likely to compete at the Ballymena course.
Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson and three-time European Tour winner Nick Dougherty were among last year's entries for an event that was won by talented Dutchman Daan Huizing, who is now playing on the main European Tour.
McElroy is hoping for an even better performance this year after a season in the amateur game which has included a runner-up finish at the South African Amateur Championship.
"I am hoping that I can improve on last year's finish and look forward to enjoying the tournament as much as I did last year," explained McElroy.
GUI Ulster branch secretary Kevin Stevens says that the £140,000 Galgorm event will offer the four amateurs an "excellent opportunity" to test themselves against top professional players.
"The GUI (Ulster Branch) recognises that the Northern Ireland Open provides a unique and, indeed the only opportunity currently in Northern Ireland, for elite amateurs to experience playing in tour conditions," said Stevens.
Prior to the Northern Ireland Open, the four local amateurs will compete for the Ireland team at the Home Internationals event at Southerndown in Wales from 13-15 August.
Campbell and Galbraith will be making their senior Ireland debuts in Wales.