Gullane pros tee up bid to play in Scottish Open

Keir McNicoll
Keir McNicoll
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Gullane head pro Alasdair Good and Keir McNicoll, one of his assistants, are both trying to qualify for next week’s Scottish Open.

They are among a whole host of Lothians players taking part in this weekend’s 36-hole qualifier for the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event at North Berwick.

“It is important that we support the qualifier,” said Good, who will have Murrayfield’s Johnnie Cliff and Chris Morris from Kingsknowe for company when he makes his bid in the new event.

“Keir, the best player on my staff, is also playing in it and it would be great for him to play in a Scottish Open at Gullane. As it would for me and there’s been a lot of members very supportive.”

Martyn Huish, the head pro at North Berwick, will have the honour of hitting the opening blow in Saturday’s first round in the group with McNicoll.

Huish’s younger brother, Oliver, is also in the line-up, which consists of a combination of Tour players, club professionals and amateurs.

The event carries a £50,000 prize fund and offers five spots in the Scottish Open at Gullane.

The field includes a trio of European Tour winners in Scott Drummond, Alastair Forsyth and Stephen McAllister.

Scotland’s current Challenge Tour contingent is also well represented, with Andrew McArthur, Elliot Saltman, Jamie McLeary, Duncan Stewart and George Murray all giving an event in Germany this week a miss to try and secure a spot in their national championship.

For Murray, it’s a return to a happy hunting ground as the Fifer won a spot in the 2013 Open at Muirfield through a qualifier at the same venue.

Paul Shields, fresh from finishing second in the Granite City Classic at Newmachar, spearheads an entry from the PGA EuroPro Tour that also includes Dunbar’s Neil Fenwick and Craig Lawrie, son of 1999 Open champion Paul.

And flying the Tartan Tour flag on the East Lothian coast will be the likes of on-form Chris Kelly, Greig Hutcheon and 2015 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team-mates Graham Fox and Gareth Wright.

A group of amateur hopefuls include Calum Hill, who cut his golfing teeth at North Berwick as a Tantallon member.

“This event is a superb addition to the Tartan Tour,” said Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA. “Our leading players will relish the opportunity to compete for a place in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, one of the premier events on the European Tour.”

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, added: “We are thrilled to be giving promising Scottish golfers the opportunity to play in their own Scottish Open through this qualifier. What a story it would be if a Scottish player went onto to win The Open at St Andrews having qualified through North Berwick and then Gullane.”

With VisitScotland as one of its principal sponsors, the two-day event is free for spectators.