Wilma Erskine, Secretary Manager of Royal Portrush, was speaking after Welshman Jamie Donaldson won the tournament yesterday with a stunning final round of 66 to finish -18.
Donegal golf clubs including Portsalon, Narin and several others had stands all week at the Co Antrim venue hoping to woo some of the 132,000 visitors to make their next stop here in this county.
But Mrs Erskine says the event itself will drive tourists onto Donegal as golf tourists flock to Portrush and then go on to play some of this county’s courses afterwards.
The club has a great relationship with Donegal golf clubs including Ballyliffin.
Mrs Erskine said: “We used money spent here by American tourists over the past few years to reinvest in the course and the facilities and it has paid off.
“When this is all over it will leave a lasting legacy and visitor bookings for the next six months are looking great.
“Golfers who come here will then go on to courses in Donegal so the whole north west benefits from this Irish Open being here.”
Jamie Donaldson clinched his maiden European Tour title at the 255th time of asking.
The Welshman produced eight birdies in his final round to fend off challengers Anthony Wall, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Fabrizio Zanotti and Mikael Lundberg, winning emphatically by four shots, to delight the 112,280 spectators who flocked to Northern Ireland.
While most players would have afforded themselves a glance at the leaderboard throughout the afternoon, Donaldson, who led after three rounds but started the day behind Lundberg, admitted he kept away from how things were transpiring around him.
“I didn’t really look at any leaderboards on the way around,” he said. “I didn’t really know what was going on.”
It seemed this title was destined for the 36 year old back on Thursday when he claimed his first Tour ace.
“To have a hole in one the first time in a tournament, and to win it, as well, is very special,” he added.
He ended his five-year association with caddie Jamie Baker but paid tribute to his role in ending his long wait for European Tour success.
“He’s a great mate and he did great for me for four or five years,” Donaldson said. “He’s a good mate of mine and I think he’ll just be happy obviously to see me win, really.“
“I’ve never doubted him. He’s a class act and a super, super player, and he deserves everything he gets because he does work hard and he’s got loads of talent,” said the Englishman who was always facing an uphill task after a triple bogey eight on the second.
Mikael Lundberg turned in 29 to wrestle the lead from Donaldson early on only for the Welshman to rally with successive birdies at the second, third and fourth.
He dropped shots at the 11th and 16th, but squeezed four birdies into the back nine to remain at the leaderboard’s summit.
Cabrera-Bello’s hopes of adding this tournament to his Omega Dubai Desert Classic crown earlier this year were going well until an error out of the rough on the 17th proved costly.
Zanotti produced the most consistent round, recording half a dozen birdies and 14 pars in his six under.
David Drysdale, Graeme McDowell and Ross Fisher, who had two eagles on the front nine, also carded 66.
But, with those players back in the clubhouse, Donaldson remained undeterred at the end with a marvellous second shot on the par five 17th setting him up for another birdie.
He held a two-shot lead over Wall going into the last and was able to lap up the applause once his drive had found the fairway from the tee.
He finished in style by rolling in his birdie putt to finish with 66, the best of his four rounds.
The crowd, who sold out the venue for four straight days, were perhaps hoping for a local success but McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington were unable to provide the fairytale finish for the viewing masses.
Nevertheless, the players were unanimous in their praise for the spectators with fellow Irishman Michael Hoey, saying: “All of the players are saying this is by far the best tournament they have been to crowd-wise.”
A large number of Co Donegal golf fans were in Portrush yesterday evening to watch the final round drama.