DERRY professional golfer, Ruaidhri McGee will tee it up at this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open after securing a special invitation from Sport Ireland.
The 27 year-old, who turned professional in 2010, is currently 57th on the European Challenge Tour rankings (Road to Ras Al Khaimah).
In 2015, he had his best season to date, finishing 27th on the European Challenge Tour rankings. He has one top-10 finish so far this season and has enjoyed a consistent run of form. He tied for fourth place at the Swiss Challenge last month.
And alongside Ardglass man, Cormac Sharvin, he received an invite to play at Ballyliffin as they boast the highest playing category among Team Ireland Golf members not already in the field.
McGee and Sharvin are regulars on the European Challenge Tour where they both have playing rights. As the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is part of the Rolex Series on the European Tour, McGee and Sharvin will be playing for a share of the $7m prize pot at the Inishowen course.
Last year Team Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan picked up a cheque for €84,505 after carding a final round 64 at Portstewart to finish inside the top 15.
John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland said: “Sport Ireland is delighted to have secured two starts for Team Ireland Golf members Ruaidhri McGee and Cormac Sharvin, at this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“Ruaidhri and Cormac have shown themselves to be two of Ireland’s brightest golfing talents, and competing in a very strong field will be extremely beneficial to their continued development. Sport Ireland supports Team Ireland Golf to ensure Ireland continues to produce world-class golfers long into the future.”
Des Smyth, Team Leader of Team Ireland Golf said: “For our emerging professionals who have limited playing opportunities on the European Tour, an invitation to an event as prestigious as the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is extremely valuable.
“Cormac Sharvin and Ruaidhri McGee will have the chance to test themselves against the very best and most importantly, they can earn significant prize money and world ranking points – which are the two things that matter most for a professional golfer.
“Without the support of Sport Ireland, players like Cormac and Ruaidhri would not get this opportunity. I am grateful to Sport Ireland for their commitment to Team Ireland Golf.”
Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of the Board of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland said: “Playing invitations received by Team Ireland Golf are essential for our players to progress in their professional careers. One good week, particularly at an event of the scale and magnitude of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, can be transformative for any player.
“Thanks to Sport Ireland Ruaidhri McGee and Cormac Sharvin will have a valuable playing opportunity at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin. Sport Ireland are great supporters of Team Ireland Golf and on behalf of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland, I thank them for their continued support.”