The inaugural ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women, Presented by Modest! Golf Management is over and two excellent champions in Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior have been crowned. Here is what you might have missed from a historic week in Northern Ireland…
Equality all round
The week in Northern Ireland could prove to be a watershed moment for golf, with men and women playing on the same courses for an equal prize fund. A man in Jack Senior and a woman in Stephanie Meadow reigned supreme and etched their names into history as champions of the inaugural event, but they didn’t do it alone. Senior was joined by girlfriend and caddy Beth Garton on the bag, while Meadow triumphed with boyfriend and caddy Kyle Kallan alongside her. A real equal effort.
Top ten siblings
We had winning player and caddy partners, husband and wife duos and good friends of both sexes in each field but one family who will be celebrating this week will be the Lamperts. The German pair – Moritz and Karolin – are brother and sister and they both attained top ten finishes in Ballymena. Moritz finished tied seventh in the men’s tournament on five under par following rounds of 72-67-66-70 while younger sister Karolin finished tied eighth on four under par thanks to rounds of 68-76-71-72.
While the women’s tournament finished in regulation play with Meadow securing a one-stroke victory, the destination of the men’s title had to be decided by way of a play-off. As we all know, Senior ultimately triumphed but the man finishing second was the Englishman’s good friend Matt Baldwin. The 33-year-old carded a superb six under par round of 64 to set the target at 11 under par, including a brilliant birdie putt on the 72nd hole, before eventually falling to defeat on the second extra hole. After overcoming the disappointment of not adding to his 2011 Fred Olsen Challenge de España victory, Baldwin will undoubtedly be pleased for good friend Senior, with whom he shared a house in Northern Ireland.
Equal pay and playing opportunities between men and women was at the forefront of the ISPS Handa World Invitational, however one that might have flown under the radar was the inclusion of disabled golf. Brendan Lawlor, the World Number Three in the WR4GD (The World Ranking for Golfers with Disability), teed it up alongside the male professionals after last month winning the EDGA Scottish Open, which took place alongside the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. Although he missed the cut, Lawlor will return to Challenge Tour action at the KPMG Trophy next week, for which he qualified thanks to winning in Scotland.