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2022 ISPS HANDA World Invitational Preview

By: | Mon 08 Aug 2022 | Comments


DANIEL GAVINS returns to Galgorm Castle to defend his title at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational

Last year, Gavins overturned a seven-shot deficit on the final day, carding five birdies in a bogey-free 65 to set the clubhouse target at 13 under.

He finished over an hour before the final group and left with a nervous wait to see whether his total would be enough, with his victory confirmed when Jordan Smith, David Horsey and Daniel Hillier all dropped shots along the closing stretch.

"I can't believe it!" Gavins said. "I just tried to shoot as low as I could today. Seven behind, I didn't really think I was in with a chance of winning. I think it will take a while to sink in - what an amazing day!"

Gavins - who had never previously posted a top-10 finish on the European Tour - birdied the second and followed a hole-out from the bunker at the sand at the fifth by birdieing the sixth, before holing monster putts at the 13th and 16th on his way to a setting a winning score.

The tournament, tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, saw men's and women's events take place simultaneously, with Pajaree Anannarukarn claiming a narrow victory in the women’s tournament.

This year, Leona Maguire will play in front of her home fans for the first time since making history as the first Irish winner on the LPGA Tour when she tees it up at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational.

The 27-year-old became the first Irish player to win on the LPGA Tour in February, claiming a three-stroke victory over Lexi Thompson at the LPGA Drive On Championship and sparking celebrations across the island of Ireland.

Maguire, who also put in a starring performance in Europe’s Solheim Cup victory last year where she won 4.5 points from a possible five, is sure to receive a rapturous welcome.

The ISPS HANDA World Invitational brings together some of the best players in the men’s and women’s game with two tournaments - a DP World Tour event and a co-sanctioned LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour event - played concurrently over two courses in Northern Ireland.

“I’m really excited to return to the ISPS HANDA World Invitational,” said Maguire. “I was disappointed I couldn’t make it last year, but I watched it on TV and it looked like a fantastic week, and I heard great things from the players who were there.

“It’s been an incredible few months for me and I’ve received so much support from home since winning on the LPGA Tour, so to go back and play in front of the Irish fans for the first time at Galgorm and Massereene is going to be incredible. I can’t wait.”

For Maguire, it will be a chance to emulate her compatriot Stephanie Meadow, who won the inaugural edition of the event in front of her home fans in 2019, prior to it becoming an LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour sanctioned event.

Irish disabled golf star Brendan Lawlor, meanwhile, won the G4D Tour event also hosted at Galgorm that week, an emotional victory which helped elevate him to the top of the WGR4D (World Golf Rankings for the Disabled) for the first time in his burgeoning career.

Tournament Winners

Last year was the inaugural playing, with Daniel Gavins winning the men’s event and Pajaree Anannarukarn taking the women’s title.

Form Guide

Jordan Smith has twice finished runner-up this season and has a further three top-10 finishes to his credit. He is a big hitter who hits more greens in regulation (74.74%) than anybody else on the DP World Tour. It is time he added to his solitary victory, the 2017 Porsche European Open.

The Course

Galgorm Castle is a par 70 measuring 7,151 yards. It was designed by Simon Gidman and opened in 1997. The course is nestled in the heart of the 220-acre historic Galgorm Castle estate. It is bordered by the rivers Maine and Braid which come into play on numerous holes, as well as five lakes.

Massereene GC is also a par 70, measuring just 6,817 yards. It was established in 1895 and is nestled on the banks of Lough Neagh. The front nine has a parkland feel while the back nine is more reminiscent of a links course.

To Win:

Jordan Smith. Victory is overdue

Each Way:

Ewen Ferguson. Super Scot

Each Way:

Guido Migliozzi. At his best there are few better

Five Men to Follow:

Jordan Smith. No weaknesses

Ewen Ferguson. Already a winner this season

Guido Migliozzi. Brilliant ball striker

David Law. Showing some good form

Wilco Nienaber. Finally showed some form at the Hero Open

Five Women to Follow:

Leona Maguire. World-class

Georgia Hall. Big-time player

Pajaree Anannarukarn. Will have good memories

Stephanie Meadow. Can count on home support

Ryan O’Toole. Established LPGA Tour star


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