2019 Scottish Open: Home golfers call for Renaissance Club to be used again

Richie RamsayRichie Ramsay
Richie Ramsay
Richie Ramsay reckons The Renaissance Club deserves a second chance to show some teeth in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

The East Lothian course looks set to stage the $7million Rolex Series again next year despite being ripped apart last week by some of the world’s top players.

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger set a tournament record 22-under-par total in claiming the title, while world No.3 Rory McIlroy inferred the test had been “too easy” in benign conditions on a rain-softened course.

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“I’ve seen it like this, but sporadically. If you count the pro-am which had no wind, you are almost talking a full week,” said Ramsay after signing off with a 67 for a top-30 finish.

“The problem is, if you cut the greens down and get a weather from nowhere, people are asking why did you do it? They (the European Tour) are feeling themselves and were smart by being conservative with what they did to get a feel for the course.

“I feel it’s been a successful tournament. Some non-players have said it hasn’t been the best preparation for The Open, but I just don’t believe that.

“With the weather system, if it’s like this here, chances are it will be the same in Portrush. The ball flies similar, the distances and the temperatures are very similar. The Open green speeds might be quicker, but it’s still the best preparation, especially for the American guys.

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“This first time was a good opportunity to see how things work, take the feedback and make slight adjustments if they need to. I would say they things they can control with regards to taking care of players, the fans, taking care of car parking, accessibility, clinics for the kids, I think they have smashed it out of the park.”

Local man Grant Forrest is also hoping the American-owned venue gets a second chance to play a bit more like it normally does at this time of the year.

“I live here and I have never seen it like this,” he said after also closing with a 67 to finish a shot behind Edinburgh-based Ramsay. “You’ll maybe get one day with no wind at all but five or five days in a row is unheard of.

“It’s a bit of a shame and it would definitely be good if it came back here again next year and the conditions were a bit more like they normally are.

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“At the same time, this week has shown the standard and strength of the European Tour as a five-under cut – and almost six-under – is impressive.”

Forrest, one of four Scots to graduate from the Challenge Tour at the end of last season, has now definitely secured his playing rights for next term after making it to the weekend in all three Rolex Series events in 2019.

“That’s a great feeling,” he admitted, “ and now I can just go for it now, especially in some of the smaller events. I’ll be trying to win one – there’s nothing else for it.”

Wiesberger beat Frenchman Benjamin Hebert in a play-off to claim the title, while three Open spots up for grabs went to Hebert, Englishman Andrew Johnston and Italian Nino Bertsaio.