Danny Kay excited to 'get in the ring' with Matteo Manassero and Paul Dunne in Scottish Challenge

Lothians man Danny Kay is relishing the opportunity to “get in the ring” this week with a mix of rising European stars and two DP World Tour winners bidding to regain their mojo.

Kay, who lives in Dunbar and is based at The Renaissance Club, secured a spot in the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge supported by the R&A through his endeavours on the Tartan Pro Tour this season.

He’s part of a hefty home contingent at Newmachar, where the event has been resurrected by Paul Lawrie after it fell off the Challenge Tour schedule following David Law’s win at Spey Valley in Aviemore in 2018.

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“It’s a really good opportunity and I’m grateful to get it,” said Kay, who joins Jack McDonald in flying the flag for the Tartan Pro Tour in the £230,000 event at the Aberdeenshire venue.

Dunbar man Danny Kay secured his Farmfoods Scottish Challenge spot through the Tartan Pro Tour, where he won the Montrose Links Masters last month. Picture: Tartan Pro Tour

“I played in this tournament a couple of times when it was held at Spey Valley in Aviemore and I’m looking forward to getting in the ring again.”

Though indirectly, among those he’ll be trading punches with over the next four days are Italian Matteo Manassero and Irishman Paul Dunne.

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Manassero became the youngest-ever winner on the DP World Tour at just 17 in the Castello Masters then created history again, this time at Bernard Gallacher’s expense, by becoming the youngest BMW PGA champion at 20.

Dunne, meanwhile, beat a field that included Rory McIlroy to win the British Masters at Close House in 2017 - two years after he’d led as an amateur heading into the final round of The Open at St Andrews.

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“It’s a strong field, but that’s what you want if you really want to get where you feel you can be in this game,” said Kay, who lost to Law in the final of the 2011 Scottish Amateur at Western Gailes. “It’s definitely a good thing playing against these guys and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Edinburgh-based duo Neil Fenwick and Kieran Cantley are among the other Scots to have secured a chance to ignite their careers in an event won by Brooks Koepka in 2013.

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“In this game, you’ve got to try and make the most of the opportunities that come your way and a good week here could lead to much better thighs and in a position where you can further your career,” added Kay.

“I definitely believe more than I ever have that I can climb that ladder. And, if you don’t get excited about an opportunity like this, then you probably shouldn’t be here.”

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For the opening round, Kay is out in the first game at 7.30am along with former Amateur champion Conor Purcell and Czech Republic player Gordan Brixi.

“I’ve got a one-year-old, so I’m used to early mornings now,” he said, laughing. “It will be nice to get out and get it done and see how it goes.

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“I am feeling in control of my game at the moment and I’m really looking forward to getting going. But, at the same time, I’ve got to go out there and just try and treat it like any other event.”

Other Scots in the field include Chris Doak, who is also attached to The Renaissance Club, and 2018 Open Silver Medal winner Sam Locke.

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