Thursday, May 28, 2015

SCOTTISH OPEN STROKEPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP - ten Ayrshire players in the field for Moray

Title Hopeful
Jack McDonald
Ayrshire have 10 players in the field for the 2015 Carrick Neill Scottish Open Strokeplay Championship, which takes place over the Old Course at Moray Golf Club this weekend, 29th to 31st May.

Walker Cup squad member Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie) leads the Ayrshire challenge which also features new Ayrshire Strokeplay Champion Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) and former Scottish Boys Champion David Wilson (Troon Welbeck)

James Bunch
First off on Friday

Prestwick, Kilmarnock Barassie and Royal Troon all provide two of the Ayrshire hopefuls, with Ayr Belleisle, Whiting bay, irvine and Troon Welbeck completing the local clubs with representatives bidding for the title.

First off on Friday morning from the Ayrshire contingent is James Bunch (Prestwick), who tees off in the first match of the day at 7.00 am alongside Jordan Milne (Elgin) and Scottish internationalist Matt Clark (Kilmacolm)

The tee times for the first round on Friday involving Ayrshire players are :-

0700 - James Bunch (Prestwick)
0800 - Charlie Macneal (Prestwick)
1010 - James Johnston (Ayr Belleisle)
1040 - Stephen Spence (Royal Troon)
1130 - Malcolm Pennycott (Whiting Bay)
1240 - Michael Smyth (Royal Troon)
1250 - Stuart Easton (Irvine)
1340 - Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie)
1450 - David Wilson (Troon Welbeck)
1610 - Bruce Caldow (Kilmarnock Barasssie)

(Championship preview release by the SGU)

An international-class field will gather over the renowned links of Moray for this week’s Carrick Neill Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship, with in-form Ewen Ferguson among the home hopefuls chasing the prestigious prize.
One of the Scottish Golf Union’s flagship events, players from 13 countries will tee up in the 72-hole event from Friday until Sunday over Moray’s famous Old Course.
In a Walker Cup year, leading names from the home unions are in the 144-player field seeking to catch the selectors’ eyes, as well as competitors from the likes of America, Australia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Germany and Switzerland.
The field are aiming to join an impressive list of past champions, including victorious Ryder Cup captains Bernard Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie, as well as current European Tour stars Stephen Gallacher, Richie Ramsay, Tommy Fleetwood and Andrew Sullivan.
Challenge Tour player Wallace Booth was the last Scot to win the Scottish Stroke Play title in 2008 and a strong home challenge will seek to emulate him, including Ferguson, the 2013 British Boys champion, who has won twice domestically in 2015.
“It was key for me to settle down in the Men’s game this season,” said the 18-year-old, the leading Scot in the field at No. 62 in the world amateur rankings (WAGR). “Last year, in Men’s events, even when I felt as though I had played well, I was finishing 20th and so on. It’s just different the step up from Boys’ golf. I really wanted to get off to a good start in my first full season at Men’s level and it has gone well.”
South African Amateur champion Daniel Young (Craigie Hill) and SGU Men’s Order of Merit leader Connor Syme (Drumoig) also lead the Scottish challenge, along with the likes of GB&I Walker Cup squad players Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie), Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie) and Jamie Savage (Cawder). Will Porter from Carnoustie, the Scottish Boys champion at Dunbar in April, also lines up.
Lucas Herbert from Australia is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 20, with England’s Nick Marsh, winner of last year’s Golf Data Lab Scottish Youths Championship and joint-runner-up in the event at Panmure last year, also one to watch, world-ranked 33rd.
Another Aussie, Anthony Murdaca, who played in The Masters at Augusta National, is also among the favourites, along with Mathias Eggenberger, the University of Stirling student, from Switzerland.
Cormac Sharvin and Paul Dunne lead the Irish challenge, given three other leading Irish amateurs – Gavin Moynihan, Gary Hurley and Jack Hume – and Scotland’s Bradley Neil, the Amateur champion, earned invites to this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on the European Tour.
Bearsden’s Ferguson admits he has been inspired by the exploits of Neil and added: “There are four Scots in the top 100 in the WAGR right now, so you are playing in events thinking ‘C’mon let’s try and beat them’ which can help you get up the WAGR due to the category of the events.
“You see them doing well and it pushes you on. I’ve also been in groups playing with good players, like Graeme Robertson and Cormac Sharvin, and that helps too. I just want to keep pushing on. I’ve moved up the rankings every single week since I started playing this year. The top 50 towards the end of June are exempt for the US Amateur and that would be incredible to qualify for.”
The Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play continues an exciting year for Scottish amateur golf, with the St Andrews Links Trophy at ‘The Home of Golf’, The Amateur Championship at Carnoustie and the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship at Muirfield to follow this summer.
Moray Golf Club, which hosted the 77th Scottish Student Golf Championships while celebrating its 125th anniversary last year, is one of the most admired links courses in Scotland.
A series of course improvements have recently been made, which include the redevelopment of 24 bunkers, the introduction of three new bunkers and removing four, to enhance the much-loved routing of the Old Course which was first laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1889.
Carrick Neill, part of the Arthur J. Gallagher group and the SGU’s official insurance partner, continue to provide their support to the championship. “Having been partners of the Scottish Golf Union for 20 years, we are proud to sponsor one of their flagship events for the past five years and are looking forward to this week’s event at Moray,” said Grant Casey, Branch Director.
“Carrick Neill works with hundreds of golf clubs throughout Scotland and the rest of UK, providing specialist golf insurance to clubs and individual golfers, with market-leading claims service, expertise, and customer support.”
Entry is FREE for spectators at Moray so come along and enjoy the action!

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