Course Overview: Listed as a 7,151 par 70, Galgorm features just 2 par-5s – both on the back 9 – and two short par-4s within the first 4 holes. Greens are excellent quality and annually overseeded with Creeping Bentgrass to help keep them smooth and true. Massereene is a shorter track at around 6,600 yards and offers better scoring opportunities to the professionals on the days that it’s used.
To give us more of an idea of what to expect in terms of scoring, winners from the Challenge Tour events here have generally been able to compile a winning score of between -11 and -19:
Robin Sciot-Siegrist’s victory in 2017 was achieved in the hybrid ‘Shootout Sunday’ format, so his -6 winning score should be taken in context.
In terms of DP World-level events, it’s a similar story:
John Catlin won here at -10 in the 2020 Irish Open, although that was in fairly tough conditions and only 22 players finished under par that week. On this World Invitational format last year, where Massereene was used for one of the pre-cut rounds, Daniel Gavins won at 13-under par.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key statistics for this week’s event that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well on this course.
As previously noted, Galgorm hosted this event last year, the 2020 Irish Open, plus the Challenge Tour’s Northern Ireland Open from 2013: Current Form | Course Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Course Stats.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Course Winners. 2021 (ISPS World Invitational): Daniel Gavins (-13); 2020 (Irish Open): John Catlin (-10), 40/1; 2020 (ISPS World Invitational): Tyler Koivisto, -13; 2019 (Northern Ireland Open): Jack Senior, -11; 2018: Calum Hill, -19; 2017: Robin Sciot-Siegrist, -6; 2016: Ryan Fox, -19; 2015: Clement Sordet, -17; 2014: Joakim Lagergren, -13; 2013: Daan Huizing, -13.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here.
Largely dry and sunny for the 4 days with just the hint of a passing shower on Sunday. Winds will be sub-10mph throughout and temperatures peaking in the low 70s Fahrenheit.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors. Looking at the winners’ stats over the past 2 years gives us some idea of that kind of skill-sets that this week’s test demands, notwithstanding that last year’s event had 3 recorded rounds only at Galgorm Castle:
Conditions were quite tricky when Galgorm hosted the 2020 Irish Open and with John Catlin and Aaron Rai battling it out for the win, it’s fair to say that accuracy prevailed over power. The rough was quite tricky in late September and conditions a little colder than we should expect this week, although a tidy all-round game should still go a long way, as it did back then.
Daniel Gavins’ stats were remarkably similar to Catlin’s in that accuracy off the tee and scrambling dominated, backed up a solid week from a GIR and putting perspective. Neither men are particularly long from off the tee, which is evident from their in-field rankings above, and last year’s runner-up David Horsey is another who you’d categorise as short, neat and tidy.
Strokes Gained: From a Strokes Gained perspective, we only have 2020 to go on as no stats were published last year. The long game aspects were more prominent amongst the leading players at that Irish Open renewal, although Aaron Rai did have an unusually good week on the greens given that his strength is typically far more from tee to green:
Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.
Incoming Form: The solid-looking incoming form line of Daniel Gavins needs a little qualification as aside from a 42nd place finish at the BMW International Open 4 starts prior, the rest of his results were at Challenge Tour level – hence his 100/1 quote last year.
John Catlin arrived in sparkling form when Galgorm Castle hosted the Irish Open in 2020, having won the Andalucia Masters on his penultimate start before finishing 8th at Vilamoura.
Of the mixed bag of incoming form from the previous course winners on the Challenge Tour, what is noticeable is that this layout provided an early career breakthrough on 4 occasions. Tyler Koivisto is the most pronounced of the bunch, winning on his debut, but Calum Hill, Clement Sordet and Daan Huizing all had very few starts to their names when proving victorious here:
Course Form: Despite not telling us much at all, I’ve included the course history of the winners here at Galgorm Castle since it was first used on the Challenge Tour. 7 of the 10 winners were making their competitive debuts around this track, which suggests it’s one that players can get to grips with very quickly:
The blueprint for success may be a little more apparent after having seen Galgorm Castle over the past 2 seasons at the Irish Open and at this event 12 months ago. Longer hitters seemingly hold little advantage here, with more accurate types largely dominating the finishing positions over the two events. Scrambling also seems key, backed up by a solid week on the greens.
My selections are as follows:
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