Northern Ireland Open: Former Ryder Cup Oliver Wilson to play in Galgorm event

Oliver Wilson in action at last month's Open Championship at Carnoustie
Oliver Wilson played in Europe's Ryder Cup team in Valhalla in 2008

Former European Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson will head to next week's Northern Ireland Open in confident mood after winning last week's European Challenge Tour event in Sweden.

Wilson is among the European Tour winners who will be in action at the Galgorm Castle event.

The Englishman played on Europe's Ryder Cup team at Valhalla in 2008 and won the Dunhill Links event in 2014.

His career has featured two slumps but his belief is clearly returning.

"It's certainly going in the right direction and I'm back in love with the game," said Wilson after his triumph in the Swedish Challenge where he edged out Joachim B Hansen in a play-off.

"It's on an upward trend but I'm well aware that there's still a long way to go to get to where I want to get to."

Wilson went close to winning the Northern Ireland Open five years ago when he lost a play-off to Dutchman Daan Huizing.

A year later, Wilson missed the cut at the Galgorm Castle event only to earn his first European Tour victory a few weeks later when he held off Rory McIlroy - among others - to win the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

Since then, Wilson has largely struggled with his game but his Swedish win - which moved him up to 26th in the Challenge Tour rankings - suggests that his game is moving in the right direction again.

The top 15 in the end-of-season rankings will earn automatic promotion to the 2019 European Tour.

The Northern Ireland entries include several players who currently occupy top-15 positions.

Welshman Stuart Manley in fourth in the standings with Scotland's David Law (sixth), Portugal's Pedro Figueiredo (seventh) and Australian Dimitrious Papadatos (15th) also in the provisional entries for next week's event.

Last year's winner Robin Sciot-Siegrist is set to defend the title with Huizing, former Madrid Open winner Ross McGowan and five-time European Tour victor Michael Hoey also in the field.

The tournament, which starts on Thursday 16 August, reverts to 72 holes of stroke play this year after the Sixes format at the 2017 event.