• An international field will take on the famous Old Course
• Past winners include Montgomerie, Gallacher and Ramsay
SCOTTISH OPEN STROKE PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Some of the leading names in Scottish amateur golf will gather at 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, with Bearsden’s Ferguson hopeful of adding to the two titles he’s already won on the amateur circuit in 2015.
"I really wanted to get off to a good start in my first full season at Men’s level and it has gone well" - Ewen Ferguson
“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). Scottish Boys Champion Will Porter (Carnoustie) is also in the line-up.
However, one notable absentee is Bradley Neil, who is competing at this week’s Irish Open, and Ewen Ferguson admits he’s been inspired by the Blairgowrie player’s recent major exploits.
“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,” said Ferguson.
"The top 50 towards the end of June are exempt for the US Amateur and that would be incredible to qualify for" - Ewen Ferguson
“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 field will be 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 Andy Sullivan.
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.
To view the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship, visit: http://www.scottishgolf.org/events/listings/scottish-open-amateur-stroke-play-championship
Ewen Ferguson :: Can he win?
With a world-class field assembled, can Ewen Ferguson get his third win on the amateur circuit this year? Leave your thoughts below.