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Legendary golfer Gary Player hailed Portrush as potentially 'the best Open'

Golf legend Gary Player together with Harry O'Hara (10) heading for the practice ground during The Open at Royal Portrush. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

LEGENDARY golfer Gary Player has hailed Portrush as potentially "the best Open" as he met a rising Co Down sports star aged just 10.

The former South African professional also praised Ireland as being as "incredible country for golf" as he attended the opening day of competition at Royal Portrush.

"Portrush has got to have the best course in Ireland," he said.

And there was high praise also for Harry O'Hara (10) from Newtownards, who met Mr Player after winning a trophy named after the sportsman.

The schoolboy, who picked up his first set of clubs at age two, is the current holder of the Flogas Irish Junior Open title.

Regarded as a rising star of the sport, Harry was last year crowned the Gary Player Trophy Champion after winning one of Europe's premier junior golf series'.

He gained the impressive title by competing across Ireland against junior golfers from across the world in six summer events.

Harry, who was the youngest person to join Clandeboye Golf Club aged five, said getting the opportunity to meet Mr Player at The Open was among the highlights of his "incredible year".

"It’s such a thrill to meet Gary, a privilege" he said.

And there were words of wisdom from the 84-year-old golfing great, who just the day before had been out for a round of golf at nearby Portstewart Golf Course.

"You are playing the best sport in the world, just keep enjoying every minute of it, look at the age of me," he laughed.

"Yesterday I shot a 69 at Portstewart, you can play golf forever.

"Ireland has so many champions, you have Rory McIlroy, McDowell, Fred Daly, Clarke and Harrington.

"Ireland has been an incredible country for golf, Portrush has got to have the best course in Ireland.

"It’s going to be a great championship.... this might be the best Open that might have taken place."

Golf legend Gary Player meets ten years old Harry O'Hara during The Open at Royal Portrush on Thursday. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 18-7-2019.

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