McIlroy defeats Harrington in Lough Erne Challenge

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Young gun Rory McIlroy beat three-time major champion Padraig Harrington by two shots at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.

More than 5,000 spectators watched the 20-year-old fire a course record 68 around the par 72 7,167 yard Faldo Course to claim the 200,000 Euro prize.

"Northern Ireland is really crying out for a European Tour event and Lough Erne is set up so well for tournament golf," said McIlroy afterwards.

"The course has come on really well since I was last here and it was great to see so many local people out there supporting us."

Harrington was equally complimentary on his first visit to the Fermanagh Resort: "It really is a hidden gem in a a beautiful area and when you get the weather you couldn’t wish for a better place in the world.

"It more than exceeds the requirements of a European Tour venue and it was a joy to play. I am very impressed with the number of greens in front of the hotel and lodges which leads to a great atmosphere and stadium finish."

The Lough Erne Challenge marked the official opening of The Faldo Course, which is set on a breathtaking peninsula between Lower Lough Erne and Castle Hume Lough, and is already being earmarked as an obvious venue for future European Tour events.

Tee times can be booked online at www.loughernegolfresort.com, with green fees starting from £80.