McDowell and co. fail to impress in Northern Ireland
It was supposed to be a Northern Irish showcase featuring McDowell, McIlroy and Clarke but Day One of the Irish Open was dominated by Indian, Jeev Milkha Singh.

It has been an astonishing past few years for Northern Irish golf with multiple Major victories as well as a helping hand or two in Ryder Cup successes against the United States.

Darren Clarke is the latest Irishman to bring home a Major title after a terrific performance in the British Open at Royal St. George's earlier this month, following on from Rory McIlroy's spectacular victory at the US Open Championship in June.

As well as this, the pair have been presented with European golf’s highest award of Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour, following in the recent footsteps of their Northern Irish compatriot and fellow Major winner Graeme McDowell.

They each received an Honorary Life Membership card from George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, at the Pro-Am on the eve of the Irish Open at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club but this may have come as a distraction and both McIlroy and Clarke find themselves some distance behind the overall leader, Singh, after today's First Round.

There is still alot of time left for the Irishmen to close the gap at the top and move up the leaderboard and it is clear that both the experienced Clarke and emerging McIlroy have the talent and determination to claw their way back into a tournament staged in their own backyard.

McDowell, on the other hand, has been short of form recently and even missed the cut at the recent British Open. He finds himself one-over-par and nine shots behind the leader with a mountain to climb if he is to shoot his way to glory this week.

India, France, Sweden, Germany and Australia complete the top spots after Day One but anyone would be foolish to rule out a mighty comeback from one of many homegrown Irish players.

Northern Ireland is a country with a considerably small population though and McIlroy, Clarke and McDowell will be hoping that miracles can continue to happen as the Irish Open reaches its most important stages.

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