The magnificent surroundings and scenery of Portstewart Golf Club in Northern Ireland was the venue for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. For the trade who were hosted by Emirates, the day started with a three-hour coach trip from Dublin to the venue, where Enda Corneille and his team of Anita Thomas, Jane Masterson, Lisa Rabbitte, Filippo Rocchi and Michael Meagher, ably assisted by hostesses Emma Wright and Karenna Mutch, were on hand to greet their guests with an excellent breakfast.
The Emirates hospitality suite overlooked the 18th green so everyone was able to watch the golfers coming to the end of their round – some happy and some very unhappy.
The Irish golfers in the main had a very good first day with Paul Dunne, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry all shooting under par. Rory McIlroy was suffering big time on the greens. Among the leaders at the end of day one were Daniel Im (USA) and Jon Rahm (Spain).
Lunch was a most enjoyable affair with plenty of choice from an excellent menu. Many of the guests took the opportunity to leave the hospitality area and walk part of the course – looking for Rory who was suffering badly – then returning to the Emirates suite in time for afternoon tea, which again was a lavish spread.
Six o’clock came too soon and we were back on the coach for the return journey, which turned out to be a very quiet trip with many closed eyes and gentle snoring.
As always, Emirates were exemplary hosts and a great day out was enjoyed by all.