Monday, 06 July 2009

A truly world class field of international stars will gather on the banks of Loch Lomond to begin a fortnight which sees the world’s sporting focus turn to golf in Scotland for The Barclays Scottish Open and The 138th Open Championship.

Before The European Tour arrives at Turnberry for the season’s third Major Championship, the majestic Loch Lomond Golf Club will play host to The Barclays Scottish Open and a superb field which includes 22 of the top 50 players on the Official World Ranking and no fewer than ten Major Champions.

Graeme McDowell returns to the bonnie banks to defend The Barclays Scottish Open crown he won so spectacularly 12 months ago, and the Northern Irishman is hoping for a successful defence to the £3 million event that played a huge role in his most successful season to date.

“There’s no doubt about it – winning The Barclays Scottish Open last year was huge for me and my career,” said McDowell.

“After winning the Ballantine’s Championship, the victory at Loch Lomond guaranteed my place in The Ryder Cup Team and cemented my place in the top 50 of the World Ranking.

“I can’t wait to get back to Loch Lomond to defend my title – it is one of my favourite venues in the world and one of my favourite tournaments. I know I don’t have a divine right to turn up and win again, but I feel very close to getting back to top form, and it would be great to repeat last year’s result.”

McDowell will find some serious competition intent on wresting the magnificent Barclays Scottish Open trophy from his grasp, with those ten Major winners joining the World Ranking heavyweights to pose the Northern Irishman a serious challenge in his bid to become the first player in history to defend the title successfully at Loch Lomond Golf Club.

Leading the line-up of Major Men – who between them have amassed 22 Major Championships over the past 24 years – is reigning Masters Tournament Champion Angel Cabrera.

“I am looking forward to returning to Loch Lomond Golf Club for The Barclays Scottish Open,” said Cabrera, who added the Green Jacket at Augusta National in April to his 2007 US Open Championship triumph at Oakmont.

 “I always enjoy the week and the golf course. I will be continuing on to The Open Championship at Turnberry so I will have two weeks of golf in Scotland, which will be a real pleasure.”

Joining Cabrera from the ranks of Major Championship winners are: New Zealander Michael Campbell, American John Daly, Britain’s Sir Nick Faldo, the South African duo of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, the Scottish pairing of Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle, Spain’s José Maria Olazábal and Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, currently second in The Race to Dubai.
From that list, the only players to have triumphed at Loch Lomond thus far are Els, who won in 2000 and 2003, and Goosen who won in 2001 and who also holds the honour of the course record, a sensational nine under par 62 set in the final round in 1997.

Talking of 62s, Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who shot that exact number in the first round en route to winning the Open de France ALSTOM after a sudden-death play-off with Lee Westwood last week, will bring some serious form to Scotland, as will Westwood and Ian Poulter, who finished third in France.

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