McDonald Relishing Chance to Shine at Castle Stuart
Jack McDonald is relishing another day in the world spotlight, as the amateur star prepares to end his dream week at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on a high in the company of Ernie Els.
The 19-year-old from Kilmarnock (Barassie) has announced himself on The European Tour stage after gaining an invite to the event as Scotland’s leading player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
McDonald, who reached the semi-finals of The Amateur Championship at Royal Troon last month, has continued his form among some of the biggest names in the game.
The 2009 Scottish Boys Stroke Play champion memorably chipped in at the last on Friday night to make the demanding four-under-par cut at Castle Stuart.
McDonald’s relaxed mood continued this morning as he posted a superb four-under-par 68, including a glorious approach shot for a birdie at the 18th, to reach eight-under overall and a share of 45th place.
With proud parents, Linda and Andy, and wee brother Ross, 10, among those cheering him on, McDonald is hugely excited for his final round on the Highland links tomorrow, teeing off at 9.34am with South African three-time Major champion Els.
“The buzz is awesome,” he told www.scottishgolf.org, exclusively, post-round. “It couldn’t get much better. From the crowds to the whole event, it’s just absolutely brilliant to play under.
“I’m hugely excited for tomorrow, I can’t wait. I’ll have a good wee rest and see how I go.
“I’ve felt relaxed. It doesn’t really change that much, I wouldn’t say. It’s just playing the golf course, which is what we always have to do.”
Developed through the Scottish Golf Union ranks, the Scotland Boys international attends the University of Stirling where Dean Robertson, the former Tour professional, is Men's High Performance Golf Coach.
McDonald, who is studying applied mathematics, has had Robertson’s input on his bag this week.
The young Scot, who played in practice with Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero, added: “To chip in to make the cut was just brilliant, the adrenalin was flowing as well. I knew I had to chip in. Dean told me I had to make birdie down the last and it was just class to do it.
“I won the British Universities at the beginning of the year and had a very strong start to the season. It’s kind of followed on from there for me.
“I prepared really well for The Amateur Championship and got a good result out of that. I also played the World Universities Championship last week and I was 14th individually which was OK, before following it on to this week.”
McDonald, sure to be a major threat at the Scottish Amateur Championship at Royal Dornoch later this month, is set to be cheered on by huge Scottish crowds for the final round at Castle Stuart.
As well as McDonald’s heroics, a trio of Scots – Marc Warren (64), Martin Laird (64) and Peter Whiteford (66) are all challenging for the title on the leaderboard – while Stephen Gallacher (65) is far from out of it after a superb day for the home hopes.
Ryder Cup player Molinari, seeking to emulate brother Edoardo by winning the Scottish Open, leads by one from Anders Hansen.