The Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2021 when Portstewart hosts the European Tour event for the second time in four years.

The news was announced at the club’s AGM on Thursday evening.

Portstewart’s members were told that discussions between the European Tour and the club resulted in an agreement being finalised last week.

The Irish Open returned to Northern Ireland after a 59-year gap when it was played at Royal Portrush in 2012.

The event proved to be a huge success as it attracted a then record attendance for a European Tour event.

Three years later, the event was staged at Royal County Down before Portstewart was the host venue in 2017 when Spaniard Jon Rahm clinched the first of his two Irish Open victories.

Royal Portrush’s successful staging of the 2012 event helped convince the R&A to bring this year’s Open Championship back to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.

The Open is expected to return to Royal Portrush over the next decade and Thursday’s news surrounding the Irish Open will help to maintain the momentum of the sport in Northern Ireland, which is also aided by Rory McIlroy’s exploits around the world.

Local hero Graeme McDowell is likely to be a strong candidate to undertake the tournament host role when the 2021 event takes place at Portstewart.

Next year’s Irish Open will take place at Kilkenny venue Mount Juliet from 28-31 May.