Duncan Stewart: I’d prefer The Open to moving boxes

Duncan Stewart
Duncan Stewart
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Duncan Stewart is hoping he’s making his major debut next week instead of emptying boxes in the new family home in Kirkliston.

The 33-year-old has already helped prepare for that move tomorrow, but has a chance to get out of assisting his partner, Fiona, do all the unpacking.

Stewart’s main priority in this week’s £5.5 million Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is to take a big step towards to securing his European Tour card.

The £57,000 he picked up for finishing joint-20th in last week’s Irish Open has lifted him to 122nd in the Race to Dubai, with more big money on offer in another Rolex Series event this week on the Ayrshire coast.

But, in his first Scottish Open appearance, Stewart also has his sights set on securing one of three spots up for grabs in next week’s Open at Royal Birkdale.

“If that happens, I will be over the moon as it means I’ll have a great week here,” he said. “And, if I need any extra motivation this week, then it’s the fact I’ll get out of emptying boxes next week as we are moving house on Friday.

“In preparation for our move from Edinburgh out to Kirkliston, I’ve been packing boxes the last day or two, but Fiona has taken care of most it and her family and my family are going to move us on Friday.”

Stewart’s finish in the Irish Open was his best since tying for 18th in the Tshwane Open in South Africa but, given the strength of the comparative fields, the Portstewart performance was easily the highlight of his 2017 campaign so far.

“I played nicely the first day then not so good the second and third day. I wasn’t doing much at the start of the final round then caught fire,” he added of a closing 65.

“I was extremely happy with the result, even though I was disappointed to bogey the last. It was a good week and helped me put some good money up on the board.”

A fortnight ago, Stewart was below the red cut-off line for this week’s event before getting into the field with a bit to spare in the end thanks to his Challenge Tour ranking from last season.

“It is the event you always want to play in,” he said, having played his first practice round on Monday night with Scottish No.1 Russell Knox, his close friend from their days playing golf in the Highlands. “I wanted to play last year but I had to concentrate on the Challenge Tour so that I get could my card.

“It is great to be here as I have played this course quite a bit over the years, including the first stage of Qualifying School.

“I know it pretty well and there’s been a lot of junk cut out, though there is still quite a lot out there. It has matured quite a bit, having been raw back then, and it is looking good.”

It’s a course where players can use a driver a lot – and Stewart has the settings on his one back in the right place after finding it had been tampered with recently.

“I think it happened in 
Austria or Sweden, though we only noticed in France a fortnight ago,” he said. “It wasn’t a massive change to mine, though I only noticed when I gave my driver to the Callaway guy to have a look at.

“He changed it back to where it should have been and it was only then that I could see that the grip was the wrong way around.

“It also happened to a few other guys, including Jamie Donaldson and Bernd Wiesberger.”