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Friday 9 December 2016

Golf: Rory McIlroy 'proud' to be part of 'incredible event' at Irish Open

Rory McIlroy arrives onto the 18th green after day four of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle
Rory McIlroy arrives onto the 18th green after day four of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle

Only five players finished under par after a testing week at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open which saw tournament host and world number one Rory McIlroy miss the cut after rounds of 80 and 71.

But the Northern Irishman was nonetheless glad to be a part of the occasion.

"I am very proud to be associated with what has been an incredible event," McIlroy said. "To bring this tournament to Northern Ireland and see the amount of people who came out to support the event and the foundation as well was brilliant."

Eventual winner Soren Kjeldsen also claimed one of the three places available in the British Open Championship to players finishing in the top 10 who were not already exempt, with Eddie Pepperell and Tyrrell Hatton taking the others. Pepperell had set the clubhouse target on two under after a remarkable bogey-free 69, with Wiesberger missing from eight feet for birdie on the 18th in his closing 73.

Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello missed out on the play-off - and with it a place in the Open - after a bogey on the 18th, with Hatton alongside Cabrera-Bello on one under after a par on the last in a closing 74. "I played really well, no question, but I had to putt really, really well," Pepperell said.

"All four days have been tough, so while today was very difficult it did not feel that different to the first three days."

Speaking about securing his Open debut, Pepperell added: "It's great. It didn't cross my mind until I walked off the 18th and my caddie told me.

"That's a real bonus. I know my dad and a few friends had already planned to go there regardless.

"Having never played an Open before, for my first one to be St Andrews is going to be quite special. I'll go there pretty confident."

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