Four of the leading courses on the North-east coast of Scotland have been announced as the host venues for the Monday Qualifying event prior to the 2016 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, which returns to the majestic links of Carnoustie in Angus from July 21-24 next year.
Downfield – a superb layout in the city of Dundee – will be used along with three traditional coastal links courses in Monifieth, Montrose and Panmure for the keenly contested qualifying event, which in 2015 attracted a record entry of 420 senior golfers seeking to join the 111 exempt players in the field at Sunningdale Golf Club.
A total of 33 spots were available for those who successfully emerged from pre-qualifying ahead of Sunningdale, where American Marco Dawson captured his first Senior Major Championship following an intense battle with some of Europe’s finest champions in Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Miguel Angel Jiménez.
Three of next year’s qualifying venues – Downfield, Monifieth and Panmure – were involved in the corresponding competition in 2010, when Langer claimed his first Senior Open title from Corey Pavin of the United States over the iconic Carnoustie links which has witnessed many dramatic moments in Open Championship history.
Set in beautiful parkland in the city of Dundee, combining wonderful scenery with natural wildlife, Downfield offers a great challenge from its Championship tees, stretching to 6817 yards with a par of 72.
The course was the venue for the first Scottish Open in 1972, and also hosted the Qualifying events prior to The Open in 1999 and 2007. In fact, Paul Lawrie qualified for Carnoustie in 1999 en route to claiming the Claret Jug.
Monifieth, a par-71 test of 6655 yards, was also utilised as an Open Qualifying venue in 2007. Dating back to 1845, when the first nine hole course was laid out, Monifieth was later extended to a full 18-hole layout in 1880 and has recently undergone a programme of renovation, ensuring it is in excellent condition.
Panmure Golf Club was also founded in 1845, with members playing over the nine-hole Monifieth links. However, due to congestion at that venue, the club moved in 1899 to its present site at nearby Barry. The course has been modified and lengthened over the years, with several holes being changed on the recommendations of the great course architect, James Braid. The current Championship course is 6551 yards long with a par of 70.
Montrose has a heritage stretching back 450 years, making it one of the oldest in the world. Located 30 miles from Dundee and 40 miles from Aberdeen and St Andrews, the historic links venue is ideally situated in between popular golfing hubs and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Consistently ranked in Golf Monthly’s World’s Top 100 courses, the 6585 yard, par 71 Medal Course has been described as ‘a magnificent stretch of marvellously natural ground’. The course challenges golfers with its undulating fairways and fast greens, made more difficult when the wind whips inland from the sea.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships, at The R&A, said on behalf of the Championship: “These four tremendous golf courses will play an important role in next year’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex and we look forward to working with them ahead of the return of the Championship to Carnoustie in 2016.
“The popularity of the Monday Qualifying event has grown considerably over the years and it has developed into an exciting pre-cursor for the Championship itself, attracting a record number of entrants this year. We are delighted to have four superb courses in Downfield, Monifieth, Montrose and Panmure to assist in identifying the qualifiers who will take their place in the final field at Carnoustie.”
Advance tickets for the 2016 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Carnoustie can now be purchased online via http://www.europeantour.com/seniortour/season=2015/tournamentid=2015862/news/newsid=270124.html#LQElhKSb82Em67rb.97 or by calling +44 (0)800 0232557.
The Scottish Government, through VisitScotland, has committed to provide support to the Scottish Senior Open and European Senior Tour. The funding is part of Scotland’s ongoing commitment to the staging of major golf tournaments designed to promote Scotland as the Home of Golf and the Perfect Stage for major events. The golf industry in Scotland is worth more than £1 billion annually to the Scottish economy, of which golf events and golf tourism plays a major role.
Delivered by organisations including VisitScotland, Scottish Development International and Scottish Golf, the Scottish Government is committed to continuing to support the growth of the game in this country. This includes; supporting economic and business growth within the Scottish economy, driving increased participation in the sport and helping to nurture the next generation of Scottish golfing stars by linking the Scottish Open to the Clubgolf programme of junior golf activities.
European Tour www.europeantour.com