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“My phone hasn’t been working well, and people of my age aren’t so good on social media,” O’Kane said. “But my children tell me there has been quite a lot.”
Irish professional golfer and guest on the BBC broadcast Padraig Harrington suggested someone needed to get O’Kane’s autograph when he first sat down. O’Kane sat silently, observing putts, sipping his tea and petting one of the cows.
“There’s one of the few spectators outside of the bubble,” Harrington said. “He’s got a few friends as well.”
O’Kane told the Belfast Telegraph he was later joined by his wife and mother, and all enjoyed watching the pros tackle the tricky course.
“Later on my wife and mother came down to join me for a short time to see what all the fuss was about. Like me, my wife also plays a bit of golf and enjoyed watching the professionals. My mum is 84 and is very fit for her age. She also joined in the fun watching the golf,” he said.
“I have played that course myself and I can say it can be quite unforgiving for the ordinary player like me. The rough between the fairways on that Galgorm course is quite heavy. You need to be a really good player to keep the drive straight.”
American John Catlin won the tournament, his first European Tour win, with a final score of 10 under par. The victory moves the 29-year-old Catlin into the world top 100 for the first time in his career, and he’s the third American to win the event in its history.
The Irish Open was previously scheduled to be held in May at Mount Juliet, about 150 kilometres north of Cork, but it was postponed and relocated because of COVID-19 concerns.