Stars of the green, screen and all in between at Irish Open's pro-am day
IT HAS taken more than six months and countless man hours, but the Montgomerie Course at Carton House in Co Kildare is ready for the first stage of the Irish Open.
But yesterday was all about fans having fun as they followed around a host of celebrities and famous golfers.
Professional golfers practised their swings with amateurs as part of the Open's Pro-Am day.
Failte Ireland chairman Redmond O'Donoghue was at Harrington's side with Arthur Spring and Tim Fenn as they racked up a medal score of 27-under.
Former Irish Open champion Shane Lowry, and major winners Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell had some fun by practicing their chipping blindfolded.
Among the amateurs were financier Dermot Desmond, jockey Johnny Murtagh, singer Brian McFadden and actor Keith Duffy.
"It has been a Trojan effort from the staff. They've been working from 4am and are really passionate about what they do," said Conor Mallaghan, whose family own the hotel.
"Some of the players have said that the greens are the best they've played on all year."
The 165-bed hotel has been booked up by 100 golfing pros and their families.
A small village has been set up, complete with stalls for food, clothing companies, and companies offering golfing holidays.
Yesterday's pre-tournament star was McIlroy. He was relaxed and in good humour, despite being struck by hay fever, as he talked to the media following a morning on the course.
"You get treated very well. I walked into my hotel room and it was amazing," the 24-year-old said.