Professional golf returns to Faithlegg next month with a Pro Tour event which is bound to replicate the success of a similar tournament at the venue last year.

The Waterford club will host the third tier professional tour, after the regular and Challenge Tours, from May 19 to 23, the final three days being devoted to the actual competition in which 156 players are scheduled to start and the top 50 and ties qualify for the final round.

The first day is for practice and on May 20 local amateur golfers will have a chance to play in a Pro-Am event in which a pro and 3 amateurs make up a team. Demand for places is expected to be keen.

The picturesque course is open to the public for free viewing from 7am to 7pm during the tournament.

The event last year saw the course record broken by England’s Robert McGuirk who shot a 64 on day two of the tournament. He slashed the original record by 4 shots, a marker set in 2001 by Wexford man Damien McGrane, the new China Open champion.

The top action at Faithlegg will be shown as a two-hour highlights programme on Sky Sports a week after the event, as well as being shown on the Golf Channel in the USA, Viasat in Scandinavia, ESPN in Latin America and ESPN Star throughout Asia.

The international television coverage is expected to be a massive revenue spinner in terms of tourism for the region.

Faithlegg resident Pros Ryan Hunt, Derry Kiely and Mark O’Brien are gearing up for the tournament and ensuring the course is in tip-top condition.

Commenting on the calibre at this year’s event Ryan Hunt said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming back the tour this year, it really was a fantastic event last year and promise to be equally exciting this time”.

Graeme Clarke, last year’s winner of the €12,000 top prize (on 13 under), will be back again and joining him will be some fantastic Irish players, among them Donegal men, Michael McDermott and Brian McElhinney, Damien Mooney from Belfast and Alan Murray from Greystones Golf Club.