The European Challenge Tour will return to the Republic of Ireland for the first time in six years when the Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa and Golf Resort takes place at the prestigious Carlow venue from October 8–11.
It will be the first time the stunning Christy O’Connor Jnr-designed Championship course at Mount Wolseley, located one hour from Dublin, will host a major professional event under the auspices of The European Tour. Tetrarch Capital, the new owners of Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa & Golf Resort, have committed to hosting the event at Mount Wolseley in 2016 and 2017 after signing a three-year deal. The Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) and the Irish Sports Council have also come on board as partners for the event.
A host of Ireland’s most promising up and coming stars are expected to join a field which will also comprise many of Europe and the world’s most talented young players. The Challenge Tour has been a proven training ground from which stars like Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjørn, Brooks Koepka and many others have graduated to The European Tour before going on to international stardom.
The €180,000 Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort is ideally placed in the Challenge Tour’s schedule for a week of golfing drama - the fourth last event of the season - as the race for the top 15 in the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman Rankings nears its thrilling climax.
The last time a Challenge Tour event took place in the Republic, Englishman Robert Coles emerged victorious after a play-off with former Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium to win the Challenge of Ireland in 2009.
The announcement comes at an opportune time for Irish golf, as young Derryman Ruaidhri McGee continues to impress on the Challenge Tour – currently inside the top ten in the Road to Oman – while a host of promising young players including Paul Dunne, Jack Hume, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin are rising through the amateur ranks with great distinction.
The Challenge Tour provides the perfect opportunity for players turning professional to make their mark in the paid ranks, and direct graduation to The European Tour is the rich reward for those who succeed.
That is the reason why many of world’s finest players have chosen to begin their professional careers on Europe’s top developmental tour - with recent BMW PGA Championship winner Byeong-hun An of Korea, as well as the last two respective European Tour Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award winners Koepka and Peter Uihlein, crossing the Atlantic to begin their careers on the Challenge Tour.
Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI), said:
"The CGI and the Irish Sports Council are delighted to be associated with the Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort, which will provide Team Ireland players with vital tournament exposure and opportunities to gain full playing rights on the Challenge and European Tours.
“Securing Tour starts for up and coming professional golfers is a crucial cog in the CGI's High Performance Programme, which aims to build on the excellent High Performance Programmes for amateur players administered by the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union.
“I'd like to express my gratitude to the Irish Sports Council for their continued support, both in expertise and funding, of Team Ireland Golf.”
Alain de Soultrait, European Challenge Tour Director, said:
“It is fantastic news that the Challenge Tour will return to the Republic of Ireland for the first time since 2009. The country has produced numerous world-class golfers and possesses many of the finest golf courses on the planet. Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is a fittingly stunning venue and is sure to be very popular with the players, staff and Ireland’s famously knowledgeable golf fans.
“A lot of hard work has gone into making this tournament happen and we extend our sincere thanks to Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort and Tetrach Capital for backing this event, as well as the CGI and the Irish Sport Council for their passion and vision in giving Ireland’s up and coming golf stars a chance to make that crucial breakthrough in professional golf. We look forward to a great week in Carlow.”
Kate Harrison, Resort Manager at Mount Wolseley, said:
“Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is one of Ireland’s finest destination resorts. The Management Team at Mount Wolseley is thrilled that we can bring such a prestigious professional golf event of international stature to our famous Christy O’Connor Jnr-designed Championship course. We are really looking forward to showcasing our wonderful Resort and our renowned hospitality to Europe’s next generation of young golfers and to the large visitor numbers we expect for the event.”
Michael McElligott, Chief Executive of Tetrarch Capital, said:
“The Challenge Tour players will delight in the challenges the Championship course at Mount Wolseley presents whilst also enjoying the warm welcome of our Resort, which was rewarded the Best Golf Resort in Leinster at the Golfers Guide to Ireland Awards 2013. A tournament like this does not happen overnight and we must thank the CGI and the Irish Sports Council for putting their weight behind this event, while we also look forward to working closely with the Challenge Tour through our hosting of this very exciting tournament again in 2016 and 2017.”
Details on ticketing and hospitality will be available on http://www.mountwolseley.ie/ shortly.
About Tetrarch Capital
Tetrarch Capital is an Irish owned, Dublin based real estate investment and development platform that is particularly active in the office, retail, residential, hotel and leisure sectors. Tetrarch currently co-owns and manages assets with a value in the region of €450 million, with accommodation extending to over 2.5 million square feet. Tetrarch’s hotel and leisure investments include: Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort; Mount Juliet Golf & Spa Hotel; Citywest Hotel; Powerscourt Hotel; Killashee House Hotel and Spa; and the Marker Hotel.
About Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa & Golf Resort
Mount Wolseley in County Carlow, Ireland, has become firmly established as an attractive option for golf groups and organisers of business and pleasure events. The resort is located just one hour from Dublin and within easy reach also for golfers travelling from points as far apart as the midlands, West, South and Eastern region. The challenging 18-hole Christy O’Connor Junior designed championship course has matured beautifully with age and offers stunning views of the Carlow mountains and countryside.
About The Confederation of Golf in Ireland
The Confederation of Golf in Ireland was created last year by the GUI, ILGU and the PGA, to support, promote and develop the sport of golf on the island of Ireland
The formation of the CGI followed 18 months of study and preparation by the associations together with the Irish Sports Council and Sport Northern Ireland. The CGI will complement the work of the associations as well as providing a necessary combined approach to certain key strategic areas in the future development of golf in Ireland.