Friday 19 July 2019

Irish Open diary: Crowds make it a week to remember

Irish Open diary

Shane Lowry. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane Lowry. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Lahinch was a weekend sell-out for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, with 86,793 fans heading to west Clare to see the action.

After 11,083 watched the Pro-Am, there were 16,228 for the first round and 18,841 on Friday before sell-out crowds of 20,164 and 20,477 packed Lahinch over the weekend.

The total attendance of 86,793 was slightly down on the 94,239 who turned up at Ballyliffin last year but the atmosphere was arguably the best ever.

Shane Lowry said: "I think this has probably been the best Irish Open I've played, as regards the atmosphere, the crowds. I think the whole set-up, the job they have done here at Lahinch, is unbelievable."

Recent Irish Open attendances

2011: Killarney 85,179

2012: Royal Portrush 126,505

2013: Carton House 81,379

2014: Fota Island 97,889

2015: Royal County Down 106,906

2016: The K Club 81,734

2017: Portstewart 92,534

2018: Ballyliffin 94,239

2019: Lahinch 86,793

Trio qualify for Open with Lahinch displays

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger, and English duo Robert Rock and Paul Waring, clinched spots in The Open at Royal Portrush thanks to their performances at Lahinch.

Three places were available to the leading players who finished in the top-ten and ties and who were not already exempt.

Wiesberger closed with a 66 to tie for second with the already-exempt Andy Sullivan, two behind Jon Rahm on 14-under, with Rock tied fourth on 13-under after a 70 and Waring a shot further back after his 66.

Power still hopeful of reaching Portrush

Seamus Power finished 60th at Lahinch after a triple-bogey at the second on Saturday killed his title tilt.

But even after closing with a two-over 72 that featured a triple-bogey at the 12th after driving out of bounds, he was proud to sport the tricolour on his bag and tees this week.

"I did it myself," he said, pointing to the Irish tricolour embroidered into the tour bag.

He has just four events to make the top 125 in the FedExCup standings and keep his PGA Tour card, but he's not ruling out a return home for The Open, with one spot up for grabs in this week's John Deere Classic.

"I was a brilliant week. I didn't play my best but sure, that's golf, but it was a great week," he said. "I never get to play in front of friends and family so I'm over the moon to get the invite and was delighted to be able to play."

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