Hazeltine hopeful Matt Fitzpatrick will face Ryder Cup vice-captain Thomas Bjorn in the pick of Thursday’s first-round ties in the Aberdeen Asset Management Paul Lawrie Match Play at Archerfield Links.
Fitzpatrick, winner of both the British Masters and Nordea Masters so far during the qualifying campaign, heads into the event on the East Lothian coast in the last of the nine automatic spots up for grabs in Darren Clarke’s team for the match in Minnesota at the end of next month.
“With Matt being in one of the qualifying places for the Ryder Cup and Thomas being a vice-captain, obviously it’s intriguing,” said tournament host Lawrie, who made the draw along with Aberdeen Asset Management’s Geoff Aberdein this afternoon.
“He’s going to see Matt up close - and try to do all he can to get past him! It could be quite interesting, I think we might sell tickets just for that game.
“But obviously Thomas will be loving it. He’s nearly my age, not quite, but we all still feel we’re competitive so he’ll want to put up a good show against someone who is one of our best up-and-coming young stars, who has won a few tournaments already. So it will be a great game for Thomas to get stuck in.”
Lanky Bristol man Chris Wood, the other Ryder Cup contender in the 64-man field for this week’s tournament and the top seed, opens his title bid against Australian Brett Rumford.
Lawrie is up against Bjorn’s compatriot, Lucas Bjerregaard, while fellow Aberdonian Richie Ramsay faces a tough opening test against former Dunhill Links winner David Howell.
Local man David Drysdale faces another former winner of that event, Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, while Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open champion Alex Noren will provide a stern test for Scott Jamieson.
Stephen Gallacher makes his return following a two-month injury lay-off against young Italian Renato Paratore while Marc Warren, a semi-finalist at Murcar 12 months ago, is up against Spaniard Jorge Campillo.
After winning Monday’s 18-hole qualifier, Tartan Tour player Gareth Wright was the first name out of the hat against Daniel Brooks, the Englishman who made his presence felt all the way to the last day in the Scottish Open at Gullane last summer.
Full First-round draw
8.00am Haydn Porteous v John Parry
8.10am Sebastien Gros v David Horsey
8.20am James Morrison v Alvaro Quiros
8.30am Tommy Fleetwood v Graeme Storm
8.40am Pablo Larrazabal v Simon Khan
8.50am Peter Uihlein v Oliver Fisher
9.00am Johan Carlsson v Morten Orum Madsen
9.10am Robert Rock v Gary Stal
9.25am Jorge Campillo v Marc Warren
9.35am Magnus Carlsson v Chase Koepka
9.45am Matthew Southgate Kristoffer Broberg
9.55am David Drysdale v Michael Hoey
10.05am Richie Ramsay v David Howell
10.15am Gregory Havret v Roope Kakko
10.25am Benjamin Hebert v Chris Paisley
10.35am David Lipsky v Prom Meesawat
12.30pm Lee Slattery v Richard Green
12.40pm Lucas Bjerregaard v Paul Lawrie
12.50pm Calum Shinkiwn v Eduardo De La Riva
1.00pm Alejandro Canizares v Mike Lorenzo Vera
1.10pm Mikko Ilonen v Jin Jeong
1.20pm Maximilian Keiffer v Edoardo Molinari
1.30pm Nacho Elvira v Oliver Wilson
1.40pm Raphael Jacquelin v Craig Lee
1.55pm Richard Bland v Joakim Lagergren
2.05pm Robert Dinwiddie v Anthony Wall
2.15pm Matthew Fitzpatrick v Thomas Bjorn
2.25pm Pelle Edberg v Matt Ford
2.35pm Chris Wood v Brett Rumford
2.45pm Daniel Brooks v Gareth Wright
2.55pm Alex Noren v Scott Jamieson
3.05pm Renato Paratore v Stephen Gallacher