Homegrown McIlroy and Clarke heavily favoured for Irish Open

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Northern Irish course Royal Portrush is set to host the Irish Open for the first time in almost 60 years on Thursday, with native Rory McIlroy 6/1 favourite to win the tournament.

McIlroy is one of a host of Northern Irish competitors taking part at the event, which is sure to be a tremendous occasion, with over 100,000 fans expected to turn out at the Dunluce Links.

Already a major winner and considered a massive future star in golf, 23-year-old McIlroy is certain to be immensely popular with both supporters and punters alike for this leg of the European Tour.

His fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell will also see much support, afforded a 10/1 chance to triumph at a course he honed his craft on.

McDowell has seven European Tour successes to his name, and will be hopeful of ending a drought of wins in this format stretching back to 2010.

Despite a much longer price though, Darren Clarke may be the player being most heavily backed, as sentimental punters pile into his chances at 50/1.

Indeed, Clarke has attracted a £1,000 each-way bet from one punter, who is convinced he can claim a maiden Irish Open victory on his home course.

However, less than stellar form thus far in 2012 would seem to suggest that the Ulsterman’s hopes of succeeding may be limited.

Alternatively, Padraig Harrington could be worth backing as a 10/1 shot.

Harrington became the first player in 25 years to win his country’s national championship, when lifting the Irish Open trophy in 2007, and his recent fourth-place finish at the US Open suggests he is near peak form.

Paul Lawrie is another player who looks an encouraging bet for this competition, particularly each-way, as a 25/1 shot.

Triumph at the Qatar Masters in February was Lawrie’s second in a year on the European Tour circuit, succeeding a nine-year drought, and his rejuvenation could continue here.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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