Tournament: ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics
DP World Tour Rankings: Tournament 30 of 44 events
Venue: Galgorm Castle Golf Club & Massereene Golf Club, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Prize Fund: US$1,500,000
Hashtag: #WorldInvitational #DPWT

GALGORM – AUGUST 11: Ewen Ferguson of Scotland celebrates as he chips for an eagle on the 18th hole during the first round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics at Galgorm Castle Golf Club on August 11, 2022 in Galgorm, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Round One Report

Ewen Ferguson carded a course-record nine under par 61 at Galgorm Castle Golf Club as he stormed into the lead after the first round of the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics.

The Scotsman, who also set a new course record at the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews a fortnight ago, carded five birdies and two eagles as he moved four strokes clear in Northern Ireland.

Already a winner on the DP World Tour this season at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, the 26-year-old held a healthy two stroke lead as he stood on the 18th tee after holing out from a bunker on the par five tenth and making two further gains on the 13th and 14th holes, adding to his three under par front nine. He hit his second shot on the 18th just short of the green and then chipped in from 14 yards for his second eagle of the day, moving to nine under par.

He sits clear of Spain’s Borja Virto, Felix Palson of Sweden and Englishman Richard Bland, who each carded five under par rounds of 65 at Massereene, the second host venue of the innovative event. 11 players share fourth place on four under par, including Filippo Celli who won the Silver Medal at The 150th Open at St Andrews after finishing as low amateur and Thomas Aiken who is making his first start since the South African Open last December.

The ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics is tri-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour, with men’s and women’s tournaments played on the same courses at the same time for two equal prize funds of US$1.5million. Competitors will each play one round at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Clubs on Thursday and Friday, with the final two rounds of action taking place at Galgorm.

In the women’s competition, American Amanda Doherty carded a six under par 67 at Galgorm Castle to take a one stroke lead into the second round. She sits ahead of compatriot Lauren Coughlin and Solheim Cup players Georgia Hall, Leona Maguire and Emily Kristine Pedersen who share second on five under.

Player Quotes

Ewen Ferguson: “(I) played the pro-am with Niall (Horan) and Robbie Keane yesterday and I kept hitting a lot of bunkers. They were saying, you love the bunkers. See you tomorrow. Just try and stay out of them. Today was just nice to avoid them, which was good. Obviously a 61, so course record is pretty nice.

“It is hard to do (follow a low round), because I had that kind of situation a couple weeks ago on St Andrews when I shot 11-under and the next day the feel was quite different. I was thinking, Jeez, I was seven-under at this point yesterday and I’m one under or level. So it is hard, but at the end of the day your golf ball doesn’t know what score you’re on, so just keep that in mind and try and just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Borja Virto: “I played quite solid, like didn’t put myself in like bad positions. Gave myself many birdie chances. I missed a couple, but I also holed some nice putts. I holed one on 14 or something, the par-3 off the fringe with a lot of break. So just pretty steady and gave myself enough chances to score.

“It’s kind of nice that I’m finished here and now I can focus on Galgorm. It was just a bit more practice at the start of the week having to practice two golf courses. They’re playing a bit different as well because this one is quite firmer. Now all my focus is Galgorm, so tomorrow warmup is get a feel for the greens and just try to go with my game plan.”

Thomas Aiken: “It’s great to be back. It’s been a weird three years for me with a few family issues in the beginning and then COVID, now the green card application and couldn’t leave the (United States).
“It’s been a really weird three years. Not a lot of tournament golf but definitely created a bit of a hunger. I kept practicing through it all and was ready to go when I got the nod, which happened to be four days ago.

“Didn’t expect the weather to be like this in Ireland, maybe it’s because it’s my first week back.

“Very pleased to have a bogey-free round. As you say, normally when you come back from lack of competitive golf the rust is more mental than physical. I think I managed to prove to myself that — seems like I got a little bit of mental strength, so I was very happy with the bogey-free round.”

Scores after Round One:
 61 E FERGUSON (SCO), 
 65 B VIRTO (ESP), F PALSON (SWE), R BLAND (ENG), 
 66 C SYME (SCO), R EVANS (ENG), A SADDIER (FRA), C FYFE (SCO), R PETERSSON (SWE), W NIENABER (RSA), D WHITNELL (ENG), S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP), F CELLI (AM) (ITA), S TARRIO (ESP), T AIKEN (RSA), 
 67 R PARATORE (ITA), J MURPHY (IRL), M HELLIGKILDE (DEN), B EASTON (RSA), A HIDALGO (ESP), D CAREY (IRL), J CATLIN (USA), 
 68 C PIGEM (ESP), J SMITH (ENG), J DANTORP (SWE), P DUNNE (IRL), R LUMSDEN (SCO), T CLEMENTS (ENG), A WILSON (ENG), H PORTEOUS (RSA), D PAPADATOS (AUS), J THOMSON (ENG), T MURRAY (ENG), M BALDWIN (ENG), J FAHRBRING (SWE), 
 69 S MANLEY (WAL), T MCKIBBIN (NIR), B BROWN (AM) (ENG), J SENIOR (ENG), S STALLINGS JR (USA), P ERIKSSON (SWE), R DINWIDDIE (ENG), C HOWIE (SCO), L RUUSKA (FIN), 
 70 D HORSEY (ENG), G MIGLIOZZI (ITA), D DIXON (ENG), C MIVIS (BEL), G HURLEY (IRL), O FARR (WAL), C PURCELL (IRL), J RUTHERFORD (ENG), D BORDA (ESP), A KEOGH (ENG), M DECOTTIGNIES-LAFON (FRA), D LAW (SCO), Z MURRAY (AUS), J STALTER (FRA), 
 71 T GANDY (IMN), E WALKER (SCO), Z BAI (CHN), D COUPLAND (ENG), M ANTCLIFF (AUS), R MANSELL (ENG), J KENNEGARD (SWE), B STOW (ENG), V MEYER (GER), H MAGNUS (ISL), J WIKSTROM (SWE), C FELDBORG NIELSEN (SWE), J WRISDALE (ENG), B PETURSSON (ISL), G BOURDY (FRA), D DRYSDALE (SCO), S DEL VAL (ESP), 
 72 J MCLEOD (AUS), D GERMISHUYS (RSA), E SMYLIE (AUS), C HANNA (USA), M ORRIN (ENG), A CHESTERS (ENG), J RITCHIE (RSA), L SLATTERY (ENG), E LIPPARELLI (ITA), T RICE (IRL), J VEERMAN (USA), J HANSEN (DEN), N VON DELLINGSHAUSEN (GER), S BROWN (ENG), 
 73 D GAVINS (ENG), N LEMKE (SWE), F KENNEDY (AM) (ENG), T KOIVISTO (USA), C SHARVIN (NIR), R MCEVOY (ENG), A PLANT (ENG), J SURI (USA), B NEIL (SCO), C BLOMSTRAND (SWE), S THORNTON (IRL), H ZHANG (CHN), C GRIFFITHS (ENG), O FARRELL (ENG), M FORD (ENG), S FERNANDEZ (ESP), M PENGE (ENG), M WAITE (ENG), D HIGGINS (IRL), F LAPORTA (ITA), R KARLBERG (SWE), V RIU (FRA), N KEARNEY (IRL), 
 74 R CONRADIE (RSA), G KRISTJANSSON (ISL), M KINHULT (SWE), 
 75 J HILL (AM) (NIR), G KING (ENG), J HEARN (AM) (IRL), P EDBERG (SWE), J ZUNIC (AUS), J MORRISON (ENG), A CA?IZARES (ESP), H ELLIS (ENG), 
 76 M WARREN (SCO), L DE JAGER (RSA), B EVANS (ENG), J GARCIA (ESP), J OTAEGUI (ESP), 
 77 H LEON (CHI), D MCELROY (NIR), 
 78 R BRAZILL (AM) (IRL), 
 80 C WILLIAMS (IRL)