Coronavirus: World Invitational tournament will not take place in 2020

Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior with the World Invitational trophies last year
Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior were the winners at the inaugural World Invitational last year

The World Invitational will not take place in 2020 because of the coronavirus but it is planned that the tournament will return in 2021.

The event, which features competitions for men and women with equal prize money on offer for both, had been scheduled to take place in August.

Last year's inaugural event was played at Galgorm Castle and Massereene.

Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow won the women's event, with Jack Senior winning the men's event in a play-off.

This year's event was set to have increased prize money and the prospect of other LPGA stars joining Meadow in the women's field while the men's tournament was expected to have full European Tour status.

Those plans remain in place for the 2021 event.

"The ISPS Handa World Invitational will now take place in 2021, allowing all partners and stakeholders to focus on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic," said a statement from the tournament's organisers.

Tournament director and Galgorm Castle managing director Gary Henry added: "We look forward to bringing the event back in 2021 at this new higher level.

"While it is disappointing, there are far more important matters on hand at this time."

Heysham man Senior and Meadow both collected first prizes of £33,000, with runners-up Charley Hull and Matthew Baldwin earning just over £22,000.

It was the first time in the history of professional golf in Europe that men and women had played separate tournaments for equal prize money.

The men's event at last year's World Invitational, which succeeded the previous Northern Ireland Open staged at Galgorm Castle, formed part of the second-tier European Challenge Tour.

Golf courses in the UK and Ireland were closed last week in a bid to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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