Excitement fever pitch for sell-out crowd at Irish Open in Lahinch

Colm Kinsella, Irish Open, Lahinch

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella, Irish Open, Lahinch

Excitement fever pitch for sell-out crowd at Irish Open in Lahinch

The 'sold out' sign was up at Lahinch Golf Club during Saturday's third day of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

THE Dubai Duty Free Irish Open reached capacity crowds, today Saturday at Lahinch Golf Club, making it the event’s first sell-out day since 2012 at Royal Portrush Golf Club.

The tournament, hosted by Paul McGinley, has been a roaring success at the County Clare venue, and reached full capacity of more than 20,000 on Saturday as the fans streamed through the gates in time to see Robert Rock take the 54-hole lead while threatening to card just the second 59 in European Tour history, eventually posting a ten under par 60.

The crowds also gathered to watch young Waterford man Robin Dawson make a charge towards the top of the leaderboard, while former Ryder Cup player Rafa Cabrera Bello and his fellow Spaniard, World Number 11 Jon Rahm, also played their way into contention.

Limited tickets are still available for Sunday and fans are advised to purchase online in advance here to avoid missing out.

“The 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open has surpassed all of my expectations, and anyone who has spoken to me throughout this process will know I had set my expectations very high,” said McGinley.

“We have created a festival of golf of which I have rarely seen in my decades of attending and playing in this event.

“I would like to thank all of the fans who have contributed to such an unforgettable occasion thus far and I am sure the remainder of the weekend will produce the kind of drama and noise for which this tournament has become renowned.”

A total of 11,083 fans turned out on Pro-Am day to watch pop star Niall Horan, Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell and former Champion jockey AP McCoy among many other celebrities take on the famous Old Course at Lahinch.

The huge crowds continued to file through the gates on Thursday as 16,228 spectators descended on the sun-drenched links, while Friday’s second round saw crowds of 18,841.

On Saturday, the venue reached full capacity and the Box Office closed midway through the day with 20,097 having come through the gates.

A festival of golf and entertainment has given the spectators plenty to smile about, with the Lahinch Live stage headlined on Friday by traditional Irish music legend Sharon Shannon, Chasing Abbey playing on Saturday and Hermitage Green headlining Sunday.

The Lifestyle Pavilion was also added to the Championship Village festivities for the first time and has proven a huge success, with fitness and nutrition author and social media influencer Dr Hazel Wallace (The Food Medic) headlining on Friday, before BEO Bites – a popular wellbeing and nutrition event hosted by County Clare natives Aoibhín Garrihy and Sharon Connellan – took centre stage on Saturday.