Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Some golf tournaments have homes. Think of The Masters and Augusta National or The PLAYERS Championship and TPC Sawgrass. Well the Scottish Open used to have a home too, Loch Lomond Golf Club, and this year saw somewhat of a homecoming for the event.
Many may not be aware of the connection between Dundonald Links and Loch Lomond. However, these two courses, although very different, are related. They are sister courses and so the younger sibling who lives by the sea got the chance to host the event that was once permanently held at the prestigious club near Glasgow.
In 1998, The Scottish Open was held at Loch Lomond GC and was won by Lee Westwood. Over the next 12 years it would stay at this incredible venue. Some All Square users have even gotten their name on the trophy including Gregory Havret (2007) and Martin Kaymer (2009).
From 2011 the event found a home at Castle Stuart Golf Links for three years. Now it is in a rota with a number of Scotland’s finest links courses. This year the event was at Dundonald Links and saw an incredible finish from Rafa Cabrera-Bello to force a play-off which he ended up winning.
As part of a new crop of fantastic modern links courses in Scotland, Dundonald has made a name for itself as a must-play course on the Ayrshire coast. This is no mean feat when you consider some of the world-class courses in the area such as Royal Troon, Trump Turnberry and Prestwick.
However, the Kyle Phillips course has held its own and become a great venue for championship golf. The course uses the Ayrshire links terrain to full effect. There are also clear influences from the famous courses in the area. It is also somewhat reminiscent of Carnoustie with trees featuring in a way that is unusual on many links courses.
Like any event held on a links course, the local weather played a factor in the outcome. This is not an easy course by any means especially in bad weather as the players discovered.
The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open will also be held at Dundonald Links this year and it is a special edition of the tournament. This event will be co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA. It is thought that about 25 of the world’s best 30 female athletes will compete here for the title.
The prize for first place has tripled since last year! This is also great preparation for next weeks Women’s Open at Kingsbarns.
What’s even better is that if you went to the men’s championship you get free access to the ladies’ championship. There has never been a better time for Scottish golf fans to see some of the world’s greatest female golfers compete on one of the nation’s best new links courses.