Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lossie welcomes quality field for Carrick  

Neill Scottish open stroke-play championship

An international-class field will gather over the renowned Lossiemouth links of Moray Golf Club for this weekend’s Carrick Neill Scottish men's open amateur 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 the Old Course at Lossiemouth (clubhouse and deep bunker to left of elevated 18th green pictured).
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.
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 Bearsden GC member, 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.”
Ferguson won the Scottish champion of champions tournament hosted by the Leven Golfing Society and then, the following weekend, the Craigmillar Park Open in Edinburgh.
South African amateur champion Daniel Young (Craigie Hill), winner of the Battle Trophy at Crail a few weeks ago, and SGU Men’s Order of Merit leader Connor Syme (Drumoig) also lead the Scottish challenge, along with the likes of GB and 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, also a Stirling student and past Irish amateur champion, and US student Paul Dunne lead the Irish challenge, given three other leading Irish amateurs – Gavin Moynihan, who won the "Scottish" at Panmure 12 months ago, Gary Hurley and Jack Hume – and Blairgowrie's Bradley Neil, the British 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 British amateur championship at Carnoustie and the Fairstone Scottish amateur championship at Muirfield to follow this summer. 
Moray Golf Club, which annually hosts the Scottish student championships, celebrated its 125th anniversary last year
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.

To view the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship, visit:
For further information on Carrick Neill’s golfers insurance policies, visit:
Latest updates will be provided during the event on the SGU website and on Twitter @SGUGolf and SGU Facebook.
Ed Hodge
PR and Media Executive



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