Tiarnan McLarnon books place in NI Open at Galgorm Castle

Tiarnan McLarnon receives the North of Ireland Strokeplay trophy from Valerie Penney, with Galgfrom Castle's captain Keith Dinsmore also in the picture
Tiarnan McLarnon clinched a three-shot victory in the North of Ireland Strokeplay event at Galgorm Castle

Tiarnan McLarnon earned a return trip to Galgorm Castle to play in the Northern Ireland Open in August when he won the North of Ireland Amateur Strokeplay title at the course.

The Massereene plus-two handicapper hit rounds of 68 and 69 to finish three clear of Galgorm player Michael Reid and North West's Kealan Quigg.

McLarnon can now look forward to competing alongside the likes of Michael Hoey at the Ballymena venue.

The event takes place from 6-9 August.

The Challenge Tour event has attracted big crowds to Galgorm in recent years and a host of regular European Tour winners such as Hoey and Johan Edfors have teed up.

After his victory, McLarnon admitted that he couldn't wait to see how he measures up against the tour regulars who will compete this year.

"I played really solid today and enjoyed the course. It was in superb condition as always and I putted great on the greens," added the Massereene amateur.

"I'm delighted to get the victory and can't wait to play in the NI Open here at Galgorm in front of the big crowds in August."

This year's Galgorm event has an earlier date than previously and tournament director Gary Henry believes that will be of major benefit to the tournament.

Irish pair Simon Thornton and Damien McGrane have indicated that they will join the ranks of European Tour winners to compete in the event.

Spain's Nacho Elvira is currently leading the Challenge Tour rankings after two victories and another triumph will guarantee him a spot on the main European Tour in 2016.

Other players like England's Max Orrin, Rhys Davies from Wales and Ireland's Ruaidhri McGee will also be chasing the €27,200 top prize won by Sweden's Joakim Lagergren in 2014.

Last year record crowds of over 34,000 came through the gates and similar numbers are anticipated again.