PGA European - The Irish Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, June 28th through Sunday, July 1st
SITE: Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
COURSE ARCHITECT: Harry Colt (1929), PG Stevenson, Sir Anthony Babington
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,143
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 416 Yds10 - Par 5 478 Yds
2 - Par 5 528 Yds11 - Par 3 191 Yds
3 - Par 3 174 Yds12 - Par 4 412 Yds
4 - Par 4 479 Yds13 - Par 4 418 Yds
5 - Par 4 411 Yds14 - Par 3 210 Yds
6 - Par 3 189 Yds15 - Par 4 391 Yds
7 - Par 4 431 Yds16 - Par 4 442 Yds
8 - Par 4 433 Yds17 - Par 5 581 Yds
9 - Par 5 475 Yds18 - Par 4 484 Yds
36 3,536 Yds36 3,607 Yds
Annual:  57th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday -- 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. (et),
  - Friday -- 9-11:30 a.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Simon Dyson
Runner-Up:  Richard Green
Tournament Record:  266 (Colin Montgomerie, 2001; Ross Fisher, 2010)
54-Hole Record:  198 (Rolf Muntz, 2000)
36-Hole Record:  129 (Patrik Sjoland, 2000; Shane Lowry, 2009)
18-Hole Record:  61 (Graeme McDowell, 2009; Ross Fisher, 2010)
Course Record:  68 (Patrick McCrudden, 2010)
Total Purse:  $2,497,318 (2,000,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $417,262; 2nd Place - $278,175; 3rd Place - $156,725
2011 Finish
Simon Dyson269Soren Hansen274
Richard Green270Alexandre Kaleka274
Stephen Gallacher272David Howell275
Bernd Wiesberger273Peter Lawrie275
Ignacio Garrido274Lorenzo Gagli275
Past Irish Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011Simon Dyson (269) -- Richard Green
2010Ross Fisher (266) -- Padraig Harrington
2009*Shane Lowry (a) (271) -- Robert Rock
2008Richard Finch (278) -- Felipe Aguilar
2007*Padraig Harrington (283) -- Bradley Dredge
2006Thomas Bjorn (283) -- Paul Casey
2005*Stephen Dodd (279) -- David Howell
2004Brett Rumford (274) -- Padraig Harrington, Raphael Jacquelin
2003*Michael Campbell (277) -- Peter Hedblom, Thomas Bjorn
2002*Soren Hansen (270) -- Darren Fichardt, Richard Bland, Niclas Fasth
2001Colin Montgomerie (266) -- Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke,
Niclas Fasth
2000Patrick Sjoland (270) -- Fredrik Jacobson
1999Sergio Garcia (268) -- Angel Cabrera
1998*David Carter (278) -- Colin Montgomerie
1997Colin Montgomerie (269) -- Lee Westwood
1996Colin Montgomerie (279) -- Andrew Oldcorn, Wayne Riley
1995*Sam Torrance (277) -- Howard Clark, Stuart Cage
1994Bernhard Langer (275) -- Robert Allenby, John Daly
1993*Nick Faldo (276) -- Jose Maria Olazabal
1992*Nick Faldo (274) -- Wayne Westner
1991Nick Faldo (283) -- Colin Montgomerie
1990Jose Maria Olazabal (282) -- Frank Nobilo, Mark Calcavecchia
1989*Ian Woosnam (278) -- Philip Walton
1988Ian Woosnam (278) -- Nick Faldo, Manuel Pinero, Des Smyth,
Jose Maria Olazabal
1987Bernhard Langer (269) -- Sandy Lyle
1986Seve Ballesteros (285) -- Rodger Davis, Mark McNulty
1985*Seve Ballesteros (278) -- Bernhard Langer
1984Bernhard Langer (267) -- Mark James
1983Seve Ballesteros (271) -- Brian Barnes
1982John O'Leary (287) -- Maurice Bembridge
1981Sam Torrance (276) -- Nick Faldo
1980Mark James (284) -- Brian Barnes
1979Mark James (282) -- Ed Sneed
1978Ken Brown (281) -- Seve Ballesteros, John O'Leary
1977Hubert Green (283) -- Ben Crenshaw
1976Ben Crenshaw (284) -- Brian Barnes, Martin Foster, Billy Casper
1975Christy O'Connor Jr (275) -- Harry Bannerman
1974Not Held
1973Not Held
1972Not Held
1971Not Held
1970Not Held
1969Not Held
1968Not Held
1967Not Held
1966Not Held
1965Not Held
1964Not Held
1963Not Held
1962Not Held
1961Not Held
1960Not Held
1959Not Held
1958Not Held
1957Not Held
1956Not Held
1955Not Held
1954Not Held
1953E.Brown (272)
1952Not Held
1951Not Held
1950H.Pickworth (287)
1949H.Bradshaw (286)
1948D.Rees (295)
1947H.Bradshaw (290)
1946F.Daly (288)
1945Not Held
1944Not Held
1943Not Held
1942Not Held
1941Not Held
1940Not Held
1939A.Lees (287)
1938A.Locke (292)
1937B.Gadd (284)
1936R.Whitcombe (281)
1935E.Whitcombe (292)
1934S.Easterbrook (284)
1933E.Kenyon (286)
1932A.Padgham (283)
1931E.Kenyon (291)
1930C.Whitcombe (289)
1929Abe Mitchell (309)
1928E.Whitcombe (288)
1927George Duncan (312)

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly called Carrolls Irish Open (1975-93), Murphy's Irish Open
(1994-2002), Nissan Irish Open (2003-06), 3 Irish Open (2009-10).

Top Contenders in the Field
Simon DysonwdT-71T-49T-13T-60T-7mcT-41mcWon
Richard Greenmcmc---T-28mcT-4T-40mcT-52nd
Ross Fisher------------T-5mcT-24T-50WonT-17
Damien McGrane---T-47T-39---T-19T-12mcT-57T-35T-21
Graeme McDowellT-27mcT-11mcmcT-31mcwdT-31T-25
Rory McIlroy---------mc------7thT-50T-35T-34
Anthony Wallmc---T-26mcT-5mcT-10T-10T-39T-34
Maarten LafebermcT-36---T-22T-5T-45T-3T-41T-5371st
Padraig HarringtonT-6mcT-2T-511thWonT-31mc2ndmc
G. Fdez-Castano---------mcT-44------mcT-3mc
Darren ClarkeT-27T-47T-6417th3rd---T-16T-14T-12mc
Paul McGinley---T-33T-5T-28wdT-58T-16T-67T-14mc
Shane Lowry---------------------WonT-21mc
Richard Finch---------T-22mcmcWonmcT-31mc
R. Cabrera Bello---------------T-37---T-20mcmc
Michael Campbell---WonT-22mcT-12mc---mcmcmc
Robert Rock---74thT-22---T-5mcmc2nddqmc
Danny Willett---------------------------mc
Brett RumfordmcT-17WonT-49T-53T-52---T-8T-9wd
Francesco Molinari---------T-43T-56T-7mcdq8th---
Paul LawrieT-16---mcmcT-37mcmcT-30T-14---
Nicolas Colsaerts---T-36------T-53---------T-21---
John Daly---------------------mc------
Keegan Bradley------------------------------
Branden Grace------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
Darkhorse - Paul McGinley
Last Week's Pick to Win (Paul Lawrie) - Finished tied for 23rd
Last Week's Darkhorse (Ross Fisher) - Finished tied for 8th
The European Tour heads to Northern Ireland this week for the Irish Open. The field is highlighted by major championship winners from Ireland - Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke. American Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner, is also in the field.

McIlroy and McDowell are playing for the first time since the U.S. Open. McIlroy missed the cut in defense of his 2011 title, while McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, finished tied for second. Harrington has played well lately, finishing in the top 15 in four of his last five events, including a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open.

This will be the first time since 1953 that this tournament will be staged in Northern Ireland. Royal Portrush has hosted this event four times, with the last coming in 1947. Royal Portrush hosted the 1951 British Open Championship, won by Max Faulkner.

Last year, Simon Dyson birdied two of the last three holes to win by one stroke over Richard Green, who bogeyed the final hole. Dyson finished at 15- under-par 269 for his fifth European Tour victory. Peter Lawrie was the top finisher from Ireland, as he tied for 8th.

In 2009, despite missing a birdie putt on 18th hole in regulation, Irish amateur Shane Lowry was victorious thanks to a two-putt par on the third playoff hole. Lowry joined Pablo Martin and Danny Lee as the only three amateurs to win on the European Tour. He was the first player to win in his European Tour debut since American Ben Curtis won the British Open in 2003.

Harrington in 2007 held on to beat Bradley Dredge in a playoff to become the first Irishman in 25 years to win the European Tour's biggest event on the Emerald Isle. An exciting finish to the final round gave way to an anticlimactic playoff, when Dredge plugged his third shot at the par-five 18th into the bank of a pond on the way to a double-bogey. Harrington made par and became the first Irishman to win this event since John O'Leary in 1982.

In 2006, Thomas Bjorn birdied the 72nd hole on Monday to win. Bjorn closed with an even-par 72 to end at 5-under-par 283 for a one-shot win over Paul Casey. Bjorn seemed out of the tournament after he opened with a six-over 78 in the first round and trailed by nine shots. A course-record-tying 66 got him back to even-par after two rounds and a 5-under 67 in round three got him into contention. The tournament was plagued by weather issues causing the Monday finish. Bjorn's opening-round 78 tied the highest first round score by a winner in European Tour history, set by George Burns at the 1975 Kerrygold International.

There have been 11 playoffs in tournament history, including five of the last 10 years. The 11 playoffs are the most at any one event on the European Tour.

In 2001, Colin Montgomerie became the fourth player in event history to capture this title three times, when he led wire-to-wire, defeating Harrington, Clarke and Niclas Fasth by five shots. Montgomerie joined Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros as a three-time winner.

There have been only five champions who have posted all four rounds in the 60s: 2002 - Soren Hansen (Fota Island) 69-69-64-68; 2001 - Montgomerie (Fota Island) 63-69-68-66; 1999 - Sergio Garcia (Druids Glen) 69-68-67-64; 1987 - Langer (Portmarnock) 67-68-66-68; 1984 - Langer (Royal Dublin) 68-66-67-66.

Montgomerie was the last player to win back-to-back (1996-97), while Faldo is the only player to win three consecutive years (1991-93). There have been four wire-to-wire winners: Christy O'Connor Jr. (1975), Langer (1987), Faldo (1992) and Montgomerie (2001).

Only seven times has an Irishman won this event: 2009 - Lowry (County Louth Golf Club), 2007 - Harrington (Adare Manor), 1982 - John O'Leary (Portmarnock), 1975 - O'Connor, Jr. (Woodbrook), 1949 - Harry Bradshaw (Belvoir Park), 1947 - Bradshaw (Royal Portrush) and 1946 - Fred Daly (Portmarnock). Americans have captured this event only twice, in 1976 and 1977, when Ben Crenshaw and Hubert Green won the tournament.

The European Tour moves to France next week for the Alstom Open de France in Paris, where Thomas Levet will defend the title in his home country.

06/26 16:43:28 ET

As of June 26, 2012, at 04:43 PM ET
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