The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is returning to Castle Stuart this week. This beautifully fierce course is located in the Scottish Highlands in Inverness and is ready to host some of the best players in the world. This iconic links course looks out onto the Moray Firth and was opened in 2009. Its style and distinguished features were an instant hit and hosted the first ever European tour event in the Scottish Highlands in 2011.
This year will be the 4th time Castle Stuart has hosted the Scottish Open. Due the Scottish Open being held predominately the week before The Open Championship it tends to host a very strong field. These players take advantage of unprecedented practice on a links course, ahead of the 3rd major of the year. Past winners at this venue are Luke Donald (2011), Jeev Milka Singh (2012) and Phil Michelson (2013). Unfortunately, due to a busy schedule the past champion Rickie Fowler will not be returning to Scotland to defend his title. Phil Michelson currently ranked 21st in the world has his eyes set on another win at Castle Stuart. He will be hoping for a less exciting win than 2013 where he uncharacteristically failed to get down in two from just off the green on the 18th, which then forced a play-off with South Africa’s Branden Grace. Both of them shot a total score of 17 under par but Phil came out as the winner defeating Branden on the first play-off hole. This was Michelson’s first individual victory in the U.K.
One of the players that has the most anticipated return to Inverness is hometown favourite Russell Knox. He is originally from Inverness but plays the majority of his golf on the PGA Tour. After his maiden PGA Tour win in November last year, he has catapulted up the OWGR’s and has become one to watch on tour. Being from Scotland his following and support at this week’s Scottish Open will be sure to outnumber anybody else’s and hopefully he will build off that energy, to come out on top.
This links course is known for its distinct features that make it look like it was placed there years ago. The long rough, railway sleepers and the rumples found on the fairways age the course adding to its rough character. Its deceiving infinity edges and deep bunkers are perfectly placed to make any player question their shot, no matter their ability. The course prides its self on being the perfect test for any level of player and it will be interesting to see what kind of challenge it forces upon the players this week.
By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope