Former stronghold of the O’Neill clan, Tyrone is the second largest county in Ulster, one of six that are located in Northern Ireland. The town of Omagh – which, from the Irish, means “virgin plain” – is located where the Drumragh and and Camowen rivers meet to form the Strule and it replaced Dungannon as the county town in 1768.
Three Tryrone clubs (Auchnacloy, Dungannon and Killymoon) joined with six others (two each from Antrim, Donegal and Down) to form the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1891, at a time when there were only twenty eight clubs operating throughout Ireland so the county has played a significant part in the development of golf in the country.
In more recent times, Dungannon’s most famous golfing son, Darren Clarke, has joined the ever-increasing number of Major champions from Ulster, claiming the Claret Jug at Royal St. George’s in 2011. Admirers of Darren should never forget that one of the springboards to his glittering professional career came in 1990 when he won both the North of Ireland Amateur (defeating Paul McGinley 1 UP) and the Irish Amateur Close Championship (beating Padraig Harrington 3&2 in the final).