Lee Westwood heads strong field for new St Andrews event
Former world No 1 Lee Westwood will spearhead a strong field for the inaugural Scottish Championship presented by AXA, which takes places this week at Fairmont St Andrews.
The new event on the European Tour is the third and final leg of a second UK Swing and carries a prize fund of €1 million, way down on the €7 million on offer in both the ASI Scottish Open and BMW PGA Championship over the past two weeks.
But the efforts of tour bosses to deliver the tournament on the Fife coast, where the action starts on Thursday, have been rewarded with a strong contingent of British and Irish players.
In addition to Westwood, other Rolex Series winners in the line up include Scottish Open winner Aaron Rai and Brandon Stone, who claimed that title in 2018.
English duo Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace are also in the field, as is their young compatriot Sam Horsfield, a two-time winner on the first UK Swing earlier in the year.
Current Ryder Cup captain and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington will tee it up on the Torrance Course as well while the Scottish contingent will be 16-strong this week.
The home challenge will be led by European Tour regulars Stephen Gallacher, Marc Warren, David Law, Scott Jamieson, Richie Ramsay, Robert MacIntyre, David Drysdale and Grant Forrest.
Calum Hill and Connor Syme are also back in the tartan army this week after sitting out the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth while Challenge Tour card holders Liam Johnston, Ewen Ferguson, Daniel Young, Craig Howie and Euan Walker have also secured spots.
Completing the Scottish posse is Ross Cameron, who earned the "national" berth in the field on the back of his recent wins in both the Loch Lomond Whiskies Scottish PGA Championship and Northern Open on the Tartan Tour.
“To have two tournaments in three weeks in Scotland is great, and I always enjoy going to St Andrews," said Warren, who won his fourth European Tour title at the Austrian Open in July and recorded his best Rolex Series finish with fourth place at his home open two weeks ago.
"I’ve stayed at Fairmont St Andrews a few times and played The Open Qualifying a couple of years ago on the Torrance Course. It’s a great layout, tough if the wind gets up. It will be a good test, especially at this time of year.
“Everyone behind the scenes is working so hard to get events on. We feel really safe playing.”
The Torrance Course has previously hosted events including the Scottish Youths' Championship, the Scottish Senior Open and is one of The Open Qualifying sites.
The venue boasts two world-class courses and has iconic views overlooking the historic ‘Home of Golf’ and St Andrews Bay.
John Keating, Area General Manager Accor Luxury Brands Scotland and Ireland, said: “We would like to welcome back those who have played in St Andrews before, and extend a warm welcome to those whose first time it is playing on the Torrance Course.
"There is a great mix of experience and rising talent so it is shaping up to be a very competitive week ahead. We wish every player the best of luck.”
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