New Scottish Open champion Rickie Fowler wants Gullane to earn a permanent place on the new rota for the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event.
Two years after Phil Mickelson won The Open at Muirfield, the 26-year-old joined his fellow American in developing an East Lothian love affair.
It followed his dramatic one-shot victory in Gullane’s first-ever European Tour event – and Fowler can’t wait to be get back there. He’ll defend his title at Castle Stuart near Inverness but has called on the event’s three partners to pencil in a return to Scotland’s Golf Coast as quick as possible.
“I’d love to come back,” he declared with a huge smile after picking up a whopping cheque for £541,660. “Given that I got the win here, I’d love to come back.”
Last year’s event at Royal Aberdeen was Fowler’s first appearance in the tournament. He enjoyed that – but his eyes lit up in his first practice round at this year’s venue.
“It’s a true test of golf, a great golf course,” said Fowler, who now heads to St Andrews for this week’s Open aiming to complete the same double Mickelson achieved two years ago. “The first time I saw it, I liked the way it fit my eye. I also liked the way the golf course was. It was very straightforward.
“Not that it’s easy by any means. It’s just visually you can see where you’re supposed to go and not supposed to go. Nothing hidden or too tricky about it. I definitely thought it was a great test this week.
“I thought it was a good golf course and one that was in great shape with great greens. So that gave me some confidence going in and was able to play well.”
Two off the lead heading into the final round, the Ryder Cup star looked to have dented his chances when dropping two behind following a bogey at the 14th.
But, in a final flourish, he birdied three of the final four holes, signing off in style when he hit a 57 degree wedge to a couple of feet at the last.
In closing with a 68 for a 12-under-par total of 268, he finished a shot ahead of compatriot Matt Kuchar and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.
“I had been playing the last four holes well all week went into them trying to birdie them all,” he admitted.
“I made some great swings and saved the best one until last. I hit a really good drive down 18, as I did yesterday, and was able to feed off of that and hit a wedge in there nice and close. I didn’t have to think about the putt too much.”
Scotsman Marc , who led in the clubhouse for exactly four hours after a closing 64, has now finished in the top four three times in this event in the last four years.
In doing so, he has earned £550,000 in it alone and was right to leave East Lothian with his head held high after another eye-catching performance in the event.
“I knew the conditions were tough out there but I never thought ten under would be enough. I thought if someone got to 11-under, both the 17th and 18th aren’t the toughest holes so I figured I was always going to be one or two shots shy.
“But I take a huge amount of pride in how I played out there. It looks like I will finished in the top five in my home Open again, which is something I am obviously very pleased about. And overall it has been another great week with a great Sunday to finish it off.”