MORAY GOLF CLUB has been selected to host the second 36-hole qualifying event for the Scottish Open Championships this summer.
The Lossiemouth course has been chosen following the huge success of the event in East Lothian last year – now the best Scottish golfers are set to descent on the links course on July 2 and July 3.
Up for grabs will be five places in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, taking place at Castle Stuart the following week – along with a prize pot of around £50,000 for the Moray qualifying event.
Staged in association with VisitScotland, the European Tour and the PGA, the qualifying event was first staged in 2015 to offer more Scottish players the opportunity to play in their national open.
Last year saw something of a dream at North Berwick for local amateur Calum Hill, who claimed a qualifying place in the main event at Gullane after raising his game to finish in the top five.
“The inaugural Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open qualifier was a great success last year and we are looking forward to building on that when the event is held this year at Moray Golf Club,” said PGA in Scotland secretary Shona Malcolm.
She added: “We are fortunate to be staging the event once again at one of Scotland’s top links courses and will continue to do so.”
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, added: “Aberdeen are proud to support Scottish golf at all levels of the game, so to continue to provide this opportunity to up and coming golfers is very important to us.
“The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart itself offers four prized spots at this year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon. What a story it would be if a Scottish player was make it through this qualifying event at the fantastic Moray Golf Club.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, added: “In Scotland we pride ourselves on the fact that golf is an inclusive sport and one that is open to all.
“Giving golfers the chance to qualify to play in their national open is a prime example of that as well as giving us an opportunity to showcase Moray Golf Club, yet another wonderful links course in Scotland, the Home of Golf.”
Craig Sutherland, who was born in Orkney but is now based in Kent, won the North Berwick event, beating West Linton PGA professional Gareth Wright in a play-off after they had tied on 130 (12-under-par).
The remaining spots were also claimed by two Tartan Tour players – Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) and Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf).
The criteria in Lossiemouth will be the exactly same as last year, with a field of 144 being made up of exempt PGA players plus other PGA members and assistant professionals that enter, assuming they have Scottish nationality under the PGA’s eligibility requirements or are currently employed at a golf club in Scotland.
A number of amateurs will again be nominated by Scottish Golf while some sponsor’s invitations will also be issued.
Moray Golf Club has a long history when it comes to hosting tournaments, having staged a PGA EuroPro Tour event as recently as 2013, when Tartan Tour player Paul McKechnie claimed victory.