Three Lothians-based pros – Duncan Stewart, Jamie McLeary and Peter Whiteford – have secured spots in this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane.
The trio all came through a 36-hole shoot-out at Longniddry to join a star-studded field that includes Masters champion Patrick Reed and world No.3 Justin Rose.
Stewart, who lives in Kirkliston and is attached to Turnhouse, won the qualifier, picking up a £5000 first prize in the process after beating Conor O’Neil (Mearns Castle Golf Academy) at the second extra hole in a play-off.
The pair had tied for top spot after finishing with matching four-under-par totals, having both shot 66s in each round on a fast-running course.
“I was really frustrated during the Scottish Challenge in Aviemore as I’ve been playing great for the last seven or eight weeks and get nothing out of it,” said the 34-year-old
“So I was pretty determined to have a good round today to get into the field at Gullane. I’ve still got some Tour status so if I can have a good week in the Scottish Open that might change my whole season and that was at the back of my mind.”
McLeary, who is based in Bonnyrigg and attached to Deer Park, was equally delighted to book a spot at Gullane, as was Whiteford, who is doing his PGA training at Linlithgow.
“I think it’s because I play here often, I could see where the score was going to come later in the round, but it was tough,” said McLeary after finishing on three-under. “There were times when you just had to play conservative so it was hard.”
Whiteford, who posted the same total, said: “It felt like hard work, to be honest, but I’m delighted.
“It’s phenomenal. I didn’t expect to play brilliant and didn’t hit the ball all that well, to be honest, but my short game was good. I just hung in there.”