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Page last updated at 19:08 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:08 UK

Mcllroy beats Harrington at Erne

Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington
McIlroy and Harrington chat during Wednesday's match in Fermanagh

Rory McIlroy edged out Padraig Harrington by two shots in Wednesday's match at the official opening of the new Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh.

McIlroy led by four shots at one point and while Harrington fought back, the 20-year-old's four-under-par 68 saw him taking the honours by two strokes.

Both players heaped praise on the venue after the £200,000 prize fund game.

"There's no doubt that the course is good enough to host a European Tour event," said Harrington.

McIlroy added:"It's definitely great for Northern Ireland.

"It's been waiting for a resort like Lough Erne to come along for a while. It's here now and everyone can see how great it is."

Lough Erne has already been linked with holding a re-established British Masters next year.

The event was dropped from the European Tour this year after losing its main sponsor.

However, the event tournament director Chubby Chandler has spoken of the possibility of the event being staged at the Fermanagh venue in 2010.

Chandler, who is also McIlroy's manager, was present at Wednesday's match.

Both Harrington and McIlroy were hoping for signs of better form after struggling in last week's Open Championship at Turnberry.

After both players had arrived by sea plane to be greeted by resort owner Jim Treacy, Harrington found water with his opening shot.

McIlroy controlled the contest from the outset and he kept a bogey off his card as he put together an impressive round of four birdies and 14 pars.

The estimated attendance of 4,000 spectators were allowed to get close to the players by walking inside the ropes at Wednesday's head-to-head.

Lough Erne owner Treacy had wanted the new Nick Faldo-designed course's qualities to be "tested by the world's best".

"The fact that two of the most important and exciting figures in world golf are Irish made it compelling to pit them against each other in this special event," added the resort owner.

The players were competing for a specially commissioned Belleek Trophy.



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see also
Lough Erne could host Tour event
02 Jun 09 |  Golf
McIlroy/Harrington clash at Erne
24 Mar 09 |  Golf


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