Ryder Cup heroes head for Scottish Senior Open at Craigielaw

Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam
Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam
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Ryder Cup players of yesteryear are some of the star names taking part in the Scottish Senior Open, which gets underway on Friday at Craigielaw.

The Staysure Tour event is paying its first visit to the East Lothian venue after being held at two of its near neighbours, Archerfield Links and The Renaissance Club, in recent years.

Just two weeks before the Ryder Cup in France, no fewer than 14 past stars of the biennial contest are in the field for the £250,000 tournament.

They are headed by Welsh wizard Ian Woosnam, who not only faced the Americans eight times as a player but also led Europe to victory as captain at The K Club in 2006.

The former Masters champion, who was finally inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last year, will be bidding to land a fourth success on Scottish soil. He captured the Scottish Open three times, twice at Gleneagles and once at Carnoustie.

The line up also includes Italian ace Costantino Rocca and Woosnam’s compatriot Phillip Price, who beat Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson respectively in Ryder Cup singles.

Providing a Ryder Cup flavour to the event as well are Barry Lane, Peter Baker, Gordon Brand Jnr, Eamonn Darcy, David Gilford, Ronan Rafferty, Jarmo Sandelin, Des Smyth and Philip Walton. As well as playing in the biennial match, Smyth acted as vice captain to Paul McGinley as Europe won at Gleneagles in 2014.

A total of eight past winners are competing, including Englishman Paul Eales, who prevailed at Archerfield Links in 2016.

No-one would take more satisfaction from joining Eales on the roll of honour in the 26th staging of the event than Edinburgh man Andrew Oldcorn, who is flying the Saltire along with Brand Jnr, Ross Drummond and Stephen McAllister.

“The team here are looking forward to welcoming such a prestigious event on the Staysure Tour,” said Jonathan Porteous, Craigielaw’s director of golf.

“Craigielaw is a modern, forward-thinking, welcoming golf club that has superb off-course facilities and a golf course that will provide the players with excellent playing conditions and a fantastic test of golf.”

The first 36 holes tomorrow and Saturday will be contested in the Alliance Pro-Am format (amateur players paired with a professional). The final round on Sunday will be for pros only, with the winner taking home a cheque for £37,500.

Admission to the course is free on all three days, but car parking will be charged at £5 for a solo driver and £10 per car with two or more occupants with all proceeds going to the Official Charity of the tournament, East Lothian Foodbank.

David MacLaren, head of the Staysure Tour, said: “The Wemyss family and all of the team at Craigielaw deserve this opportunity to showcase their superb facilities as the top stars compete for one of the most prestigious titles on the Staysure Tour.”