Walsh banking experience at World Invitational

​The ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf is hosted by Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Clubs

  • 15 August 2019

​Caption: Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) | Golffile

The summer of ground breaking events in golf continues this week as The ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women presented by Modest! Golf begins at Galgorm Castle and Massereene.  

Previously the NI Open, one of the best attended events on the European Challenge Tour, the event now welcomes male and female golfers to play on the same courses, at the same time, for the same prize money. 

While homegrown stars such as Leona Maguire, Stephanie Meadow, Cormac Sharvin and Michael Hoey will be among 250 Professional players, there are 23 Amateurs competing at the event also. 

Lauren Walsh received her Leaving Certificate results earlier this week from the fairways of her practice round at Massereene Golf Club and will fly out to Wake Forest University on Monday to begin life as a collegiate athlete. However the World Invitational has presented her with an opportunity from which she sees the long term benefits.

‘It’s nice to be given the experience of playing in a Professional event as an amateur,’ said Walsh. ‘I’d definitely like to turn Professional down the line so to get this experience now and get a feel for it all is really exciting.’

The event is the first of its kind in Europe where male, female and golfers with disabilities will compete on the same stage. 

‘To play in the event is cool enough, but for it to be incorporating men and women’s sport together. I think it’s really great for the game,’ commented Walsh. 

‘I haven’t played either course before in competition but I travelled up a couple of weeks ago to practice. The courses are really good, they’re probably a little bit longer than some of the amateur events we play but that’s something I’m comfortable with and it plays to my strengths.’

Although keeping expectations low, Walsh believes the most accurate players will be in contention come Sunday afternoon.  

‘The key to this week will be keeping the ball in play. The rough, especially around Galgorm Castle, is really thick so hitting fairways and greens will be a priority.’ 

‘This week is all about the experience for me though and I will be going out to enjoy myself. I just want to soak it all up, I want to learn as much as I can from the week.’

One big name player in the field this week is European Solheim Cup team member Charley Hull (ENG). Hull will compete in her fourth Solheim Cup at the age of just 23 in Gleneagles next month and is someone Walsh has admired from a young age. 

‘I remember seeing her at Killeen Castle in 2011, she was an Amateur playing in the Ladies Irish Open. I got her autograph and got a picture with her and since then she has been one of my favourite players. It’s weird to be in those shoes now playing at a similar level, it’s crazy.’

Walsh tees off at 12:52pm at Massereene for her first round on Thursday with her sister, Clodagh, a seasoned golfer in her own right, on the bag.

‘Growing up, we spent so much time together training and practicing. Over the last couple of years we have had different schedules and haven’t been able to do that as much. It’s great to have her on the bag this week, she will keep me relaxed and calm and I’m looking forward to having fun out there with her.’

Fifteen Irish amateurs, seven female, are in the field at the ISPS Handa World Invitational alongside eleven Team Ireland supported Professionals. Full information is available at worldinvitational.com

Team Ireland Players
Conor O’Rourke*
Cormac Sharvin
David Carey*
Dermot McElroy*
Gary Hurley
John Ross Galbraith
Jonathan Yates*
Leona Maguire
Paul McBride*
Robin Dawson
Rory McNamara*
Ruaidhri McGee
Stephanie Meadow
Stuart Grehan*

*Invitations secured by Team Ireland Golf which is supported by Sport Ireland.

Ireland Amateurs
Annabel Wison (Lurgan)
Brendan Lawlor (Dundalk)
Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint)
Jessica Ross (Clandeboye)
Joshua Hill (Galgorm Castle)
Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden)
Lucy Simpson (Massereene)
Maeve Cummins (Lurgan)
Marc Boucher (Carton House)
Matthew McClean (Malone)
Odhran Maguire (Slieve Russell)
Paula Grant (Lisburn)
Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe)
Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene)
Tom McKibbin (Holywood)