Portstewart on course to host Irish Open in 2017

The Irish Open could be staged at the Portstewart course in 2017
The Irish Open could be staged at the Portstewart course in 2017

The Irish Open is set to return to Northern Ireland in 2017 with Portstewart the preferred venue, BBC Sport understands.

The European Tour announced on Monday that the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh would not host the 2017 event.

Lough Erne Resort said the Tour had decided to "change the venue to a links course".

Tour officials have been in discussions with the Portstewart club and have visited the course.

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Willett relishing Irish Open at K Club

In April 2014, it was announced that the 2017 event would be held at Lough Erne and supported financially by the Northern Ireland government.

However, doubts surfaced in January that the Fermanagh course may not stage the tournament and this was confirmed on Monday.

Portrush hosted the Irish Open in 2012 as the event returned to Northern Ireland and it was held at Royal County Down three years later.

This year's tournament will be at the K Club in County Kildare next month, with new US Masters champion Danny Willett in the field.

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