Northern Ireland Open: Mullarney books Galgorm Castle berth

Ronan Mullarney received the NI Amateur Open trophy from Galgorm Castle captain Peter Daly and Valerie Penney from Specsavers Ballymena
Ronan Mullarney (centre) played in the recent Palmer Cup event in France

Galway player Ronan Mullarney booked his place at next month's Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle by winning Tuesday's Northern Ireland Amateur Open at the Ballymena venue.

The winner hit rounds of 67 and 66 to finish nine under par and three ahead of Forrest Little's Jack McDonnell.

Mullarney recently played for the International team in the Palmer Cup match in France against the USA.

"I'm delighted to secure my place in the NI Open," said Mullarney.

"The invite to the NI Open was the main reason for playing here today. I really wanted to play in a professional event this year."

Mullarney now hopes to play further games at Galgorm Castle with his friend and fellow Maynooth University student Jordan Hood in the weeks before next month's European Challenge Tour event which takes place from 16-19 August.

Hood is a member of the Ballymena course.

"I might have to get a few more games here with Jordan. The course really suited my eye and I knew yesterday that I liked the place.

"(The strategy was) Keep it out of the water, the rough, the trees and hole a few putts," said the plus four handicapper.

Having started on the 10th, Mullarney covered the back nine in four-under 31 in the final round before picking up a sixth birdie of the afternoon at the par-five ninth, his final hole.

"I'll play the South (of Ireland) and the (Irish) Close and some club golf, Senior Cup and Barton Shield between now and the NI Open," added the Galway man.

McDonnell fired successive rounds of 68 to take the runner-up spot while Galgorm Castle member Michael Reid edged out Ardglass' Adam Mulhall for third place on his afternoon card after rounds of 70 and 67.

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