Recognising one of Irish golf’s most popular, enduring and sadly missed characters, the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy was introduced at last year’s Irish Challenge.
Christy was a four-time European Tour winner and his passing in January last year was keenly felt by all those who knew him, not least at Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort where he designed the picturesque course hosting this week’s tournament for the third time.
Christy supported this event from the very start, being named Tournament Ambassador for its first staging, and it is fitting that the trophy that now bears his name will be awarded to the highest placed Irish player at the end of the week.
Last year, Dermot McElroy became the first winner of the beautiful trophy – made from Waterford Crystal Lismore Diamond – and was presented with his prize by Christy’s son Nigel.
“He was such an icon to Irish golf,” said McElroy, reflecting on the tied 15th finish that secured him the trophy last year. “My name will always be up there first, so that’s something special.
“It was only my second tournament as a professional and it’s really good, as an Irishman, to have won the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy.”
Paul McGinley, another Irish golfing legend, was another to acknowledge the great legacy Christy leaves in the game and the significance of this prize.
“It is fantastic that the legacy of Christy will live on through this beautiful trophy,” he said. Christy was a close friend and mentor to me, and his influence helped make me the player I am.“He was a legend of Irish golf, and it is fitting that one of our brightest young talents will be awarded this significant prize.”