Christy O’Connor Jnr launches new golf challenge

At the launch of the the Guinness Mid-Strength Blue Tee Challenge were (l-r): Ronan Killeen, director of the Galway Bay Golf Resort; former Ryder Cup and World Cup golfer Christy O’Connor Jnr, and Des Roche of event sponsors Diageo. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy.

At the launch of the the Guinness Mid-Strength Blue Tee Challenge were (l-r): Ronan Killeen, director of the Galway Bay Golf Resort; former Ryder Cup and World Cup golfer Christy O’Connor Jnr, and Des Roche of event sponsors Diageo. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy.

Galway’s Christy O’Connor Jnr was back swinging a club at the Galway Bay Golf Resort this week to launch a new golf challenge.

The club is asking professional and amateur golfers - male and female - to take part in the challenge in an attempt to set a new course record.

“The Guinness Mid-Strength Blue Tee Challenge” will take place the weekend of the British Open, Sunday July 22, as, for the first time since the course’s upgrade in 2006, golfers attempt to set a new record.

Speaking at this week’s launch, Christy O’Connor Junior said: “Having redesigned Galway Bay Golf Resort, of which we upgraded 16 holes in order to bring it more on line to a links-style golf course, I now feel the golf course is capable of hosting any tournament in the world.”

The last record was produced byWicklow native and tour professional Eamonn Darcy with a 4 under par 68.

The Galway Bay Golf Resort hosted the 1999 West of Ireland PGA Open which, although won by Costantino Rocca, was remembered for Pádraig Harrington finishing second to qualify for the Ryder Cup team. Over the years some of the world’s top players have been attracted to the course - Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo and 2011 Open Championship winner Darren Clarke, who won the Irish Professional Championship at the resort in 1994.

Des Roache, regional manager for event sponsor Diageo, said: “The championship course is probably best described as challenging, but fair. We are now calling on all pro and amateur golfers alike to sign up and be part of The Guinness Mid-Strength Blue Tee Challenge.”

The 18 hole resort in Renville, Oranmore, is noted for being a tough challenge for both professional and amateur golfers. With 300 acres of parkland, measuring 7308 yards of the back tees, the Atlantic Ocean washes thecourse on three sides. It also boasts one of the west of Irelands finest golf academies, with facilities that include a 20-bay driving range off real grass tee-boxes, separate pitching, chipping and bunker areas, and a nine-hole putting surface.

The registration fee for the challenge is €25 and tee times are available from 8am. For more information log on to www.galwaybaygolfresort.com or call 091-790711.

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