Forrest and McDonald Invited to Gleneagles / Round-up
Two of Scotland’s Home Internationals heroes will tee-up in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles next week, after Grant Forrest’s place in The European Tour field was confirmed alongside Jack McDonald.
The teenage pair played their part at Gailes Links, helping securing the Home Internationals title for the first time since 2006 after a dramatic week in Ayrshire.
It continued a wonderful summer for the 19-year-old’s, after McDonald reached the semi-finals of The Amateur Championship at Royal Troon and Forrest then stormed to Scottish Amateur Championship glory at Royal Dornoch.
McDonald, from Kilmarnock (Barassie), catapulted to the top of the Scottish standings on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) by virtue of his efforts and secured an invite for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open as a result. McDonald then brilliantly played all four rounds at Castle Stuart, the last with new Open champion Ernie Els.
With McDonald still the nation’s best on the WAGR, he secured an invite to Gleneagles from tournament organisers earlier this week – and Craigielaw’s Forrest, as newly-crowned Scottish Amateur champion, has now also had his spot confirmed for The PGA Centenary Course test.
It promises to be a fantastic week for the young men at The 2014 Ryder Cup venue, especially given the worldwide focus on the £1.4m tournament. It’s the final counting event for Europe’s Ryder Cup team and a host of players are still battling to seal a spot on the plane to Medinah next month.
With over 300 European Tour titles between them the field is as strong as ever, lead by event chairman Colin Montgomerie, European captain José María Olazábal and his newly announced vice-captains, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and defending champ Thomas Björn.
The field also includes Paul Casey, Ross Fisher, Simon Dyson and home favourites such as Paul Lawrie, Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren, Scott Jamieson and Stephen Gallacher. Lawrie is currently in Olazabal’s side and a strong week will confirm his first Ryder Cup appearance in 13 years.
Ten automatic qualification spots will be filled first by the players in the top five positions in the European Points List, with the remaining five being taken from the World Points List. Olazábal will then name his two wild card picks the following day.
Golf fans are being offered the chance to take in the drama for a heavily discounted price. For the second successive year in a row the championship organisers have set the Friday ticket price to just £5. Once again, Gleneagles will donate all the revenue from on-the-day ticket sales to ClubGolf, Scotland's junior programme. Tickets are available at the course and parking is free.
* Scotland’s hopes of glory in The Boys Amateur Championship have ended after the brave efforts of Alasdair McDougall (Eldesrslie) and Jamie Savage (Cawder) came up just short.
England’s Matt Fitzpatrick will play Henry James from Wales in the final of the 86th staging of the event at Notts Golf Club (Hollinwell) tomorrow.
On a bright and humid day in Robin Hood country, 17-year-old Fitzpatrick, from Hallamshire Golf Club in Sheffield, beat Germany’s Morten Schroetgens 5&4 in the quarter-final and then in the semi-final also ended the tenacious challenge McDougall, on the 17th green.
Eighteen-year-old James, from Kidderminster, came into the Championship as the holder of the Welsh Boys’ title and will be looking to add to this after beating Savage by one hole in the quarter-final and then dispatching 16-year-old Pierre Mazier from France by 2&1 in a semi-final tussle.
McDougall had earlier come through a remarkable quarter-final tie, beating The Amateur Championship runner-up Matthias Schwab at the 23rd in an epic match.
* Stirling’s Craig Lee today warmed up for the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles with a highly creditable top-five finish at the ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Björn & Mercedes-Benz.
Lee closed with a round of 66 at Stensballegaard Golf in Horsens, Denmark, to finish on 10-under-par, two shots behind the winner, Italian Alessandro Tadini.
The 35-year-old will now head to Perthshire, where a strong showing would go a long way toward securing his card for next season.
* Anders Forsbrand will take a three-stroke lead into tomorrow’s final round of the SSE Scottish Senior Open, as he bids to become the first Swedish winner on The European Senior Tour.
The six-time European Tour winner, who shared the first round lead with Frenchman March Farry, carded a second consecutive six-under-par 66 over the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews to move to 12-under 132 for the tournament.
The leading Scot in Fife is Andrew Oldcorn on 140, a shot ahead of course designer Sam Torrance and Bill Longmuir.