A combination of Tour players, club professionals and amateurs have entered the inaugural Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open qualifier.
The exciting new event, which is part of the PGA Scotland’s Tartan Tour, takes place at North Berwick this Saturday and Sunday (July 4-5).
It carries a £50,000 prize fund and offers five spots in next week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane.
The field for this weekend’s 36-hole shoot-out includes a trio of European Tour winners in Scott Drummond, Alastair Forsyth and Stephen McAllister.
Scotland’s current Challenge Tour contingent is also well represented, with Andrew McArthur, Elliot Saltman, Jamie McLeary, Duncan Stewart and George Murray all giving an event in Germany this week a miss to try and secure a spot in their national championship.
For Murray, it’s a return to a happy hunting ground as the Fifer won a spot in the 2013 Open at Muirfield through a qualifier at the same venue.
Paul Shields, fresh from finishing second in the Granite City Classic at Newmachar, spearheads an entry from the PGA EuroPro Tour that also includes Craig Lawrie, son of 1999 Open champion Paul.
And flying the Tartan Tour flag on the East Lothian coast will be the likes of on-form Chris Kelly, Greig Hutcheon and 2015 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team-mates Graham Fox and Gareth Wright.
It’s great that a number of PGA club pros have also decided to try their luck, with North Berwick’s Martyn Huish and Gullane’s Alasdair Good among those trying to secure spots alongside Rory McIlroy & Co.
Also aiming to achieve that goal are a group of amateurs, including Craig Ross, a winner on the the PGA EuroPro Tour at Mar Hall last year, and Calum Hill, who cut his golfing teeth at North Berwick as a Tantallon member.
“This event is a superb addition to the Tartan Tour,” said Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA. “Our leading players will relish the opportunity to compete for a place in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, one of the premier events on the European Tour.”
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, added: “Here at Aberdeen we are very proud of our Scottish roots and so we aim to support Scottish golf at all levels of the game.
“We are thrilled to be giving promising Scottish golfers the opportunity to play in their own Scottish Open through this qualifier.
“What a story it would be if a Scottish player went onto to win The Open at St Andrews having qualified through North Berwick and then Gullane!”
And VisitScotland, one of principal sponsors of the event, says this weekend’s free event will be a treat for golf fans.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The Scottish Open Qualifier at North Berwick is an excellent addition to this country’s spectacular summer of golf, which comprises nine professional events including the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Open, the Open Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“With so much talent on display at North Berwick this weekend, this free event will not only be a treat for golf fans, but it will also whet their appetite for some of the outstanding sporting action to come over the coming months. All of these events will further cement this country’s global reputation as the home of golf.”
Visit www.PGA.info for the latest information and scores throughout the season
North Berwick Golf Club www.northberwickgolfclub.com
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