The Scottish Hydro Challenge returns to the magnificent Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Course in Aviemore following the success of last year’s event, which produced the first home winner for the first time since its inception in 2006 when Edinburgh resident Jamie McLeary triumphed by two shots from subsequent Challenge Tour Rankings and Omega Mission Hills World Cup winner Edoardo Molinari of Italy. McLeary, who also finished runner-up at the 2007 Scottish Challenge, saw off a high-calibre field – which included 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie and former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker of England – to take the €32,000 first prize. Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Course opened in 2006 and was designed by Dave Thomas, who also designed the course at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf and Country Club, which hosted the Scottish Challenge between 2007 and 2008. The 7,153 yard, par 72 heath land course, which is set along the banks of the River Spey and boasts spectacular views of the Cairngorm mountain range, drew widespread praise from the field last year. This year’s event will again receive a crucial £150,000 investment from EventScotland, the national events agency, as part of its ongoing support of The European, Challenge, Senior and Ladies European Tours ahead of The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.