The European Tour is in Scotland this week for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. Rafa Cabrera-Bello defends the title at Gullane GC.
Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times
It’s the fifth Rolex Series event of the year this week on the European Tour. A strong field has assembled to contest the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane GC in East Lothian.
With just a week to go until The Open Championship at Carnoustie, some of the world’s very best players will look to hone their skills on the links at Gullane. Among them will be 2014 Scottish Open winner Justin Rose, 2015 champion Rickie Fowler, Masters champion Patrick Reed and Major winners Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson.
Rickie Fowler won the Scottish Open when it was last held at Gullane in 2015. The American is looking forward to making a return to the East Lothian links.
“Gullane is a special place for me and I can’t wait to get back there,” he said. “I love links golf – the golf course can play so differently each day and its always such an interesting challenge. Gullane was a very good test back in 2015. The Scottish Open is a great week, and the Scottish fans are always so knowledgeable and appreciative, but it’s also good preparation for The Open. You often see guys who have played in the Scottish Open doing well the following week, so I’m looking forward to two good weeks on the links in July.”
Six of the last eight Open champions have played in the Scottish Open the week before, including 2016 Open winner Henrik Stenson.
“The times when I have played the Scottish Open in the week before The Open I feel like I’ve come in ready and prepared and that’s when I’ve had my best results,” said the Swede. “I did that in 2013 when I finished second to Phil at Muirfield, then I skipped it for a couple of years to try a different set up and that didn’t work out too well for me. I went back to the original plan in 2016 and we all know how that finished up.”
There are three qualifying spaces for The Open Championship on offer this week. Places go to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties.
The Scottish Open was first contested in 1972, the first year of the European Tour; England’s Neil Coles was the winner. The tournament disappeared from the schedule after 1973 but it was re-established in the 1980s. For eight years the competition was held over the Kings Course at Gleneagles with winners like Ian Woosnam and Jesper Parnevik. There were then two years at Carnoustie before the event moved to Loch Lomond in 1996.
After 15 years at Loch Lomond, from 1996 to 2010, the Scottish Open spent three years on the Moray Firth at the exceptional Castle Stuart where Luke Donald, Jeev Milkha Singh and Phil Mickelson were victorious, the competition then went to Royal Aberdeen where Justin Rose was champion, Rickie Fowler won at Gullane in 2015 and Alex Noren was the winner back at Castle Stuart in 2016. Last year at Dundonald, Rafa Cabrera Bello came through against England’s Callum Shinkwin to claim the victory.
The weather looks set to be fine for most of the week in Gullane with a chance of some rain on Sunday. The winds look like being relatively light so scoring could be good.
Venue: Gullane GC, East Lothian, Scotland
Date: Jul 12-15
Course stats: par 70, 7,133 yards
Defending champion: Rafa Cabrera Bello (-13)
How to watch the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open
Thursday 12 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30am
Friday 13 – Sky Sports Golf from 10.30am and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.45am
Saturday 14 – Sky Sports Golf from 3pm
Sunday 15 – Sky Sports Golf from 3pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 4.15pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass if you wish to watch one of the rounds or, for just £12.99, you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
Players to watch:
Rickie Fowler – The American won this event last time it was contested at Gullane and will fancy his chances of a repeat performance this time out.
Chris Wood – The Englishman is a good links player and he’s been on solid form of late. He was tied second in the French Open and then posted a top-15 finish in last week’s Irish Open.
Alexander Bjork – He’s already a winner on this year’s European Tour, in the Volvo China Open, and he’s proving himself to be one of the circuit’s best players. He was tied eighth in France and then tied 14th in Ireland.
Key hole: 16th. A par-5 of 599 yards, there are bunkers perfectly positioned on the right side at driving distance. With a helping wind it will be reachable in two blows but if the wind hurts it will require three solid shots.