The 2013 Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson and his fellow Swede Jonas Blixt are the latest star players to add their names to an already stellar field for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, which takes place at Royal Aberdeen from July 10-13.
Last year, Stenson became the first man to win both The Race to Dubai and the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Series in the same season, and arguably his tied third finish behind winner Phil Mickelson in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open heralded the start of a purple patch of form which culminated in the Swede winning the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and, with it, the Harry Vardon Trophy.
Stenson established a two stroke lead entering the final day at Castle Stuart Golf Links last July, only to fall two shots shy of victory after a closing round of 73.
But the disappointment of his near-miss proved the catalyst for a sensational run of form which yielded top three finishes over the next four weeks in The 142nd Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship.
Stenson’s joint third finish in Inverness was his second top ten in succession – he tied for eighth place in 2012 – and the World Number Three will be keen to continue that impressive recent record in the 32nd edition of the £3 million event.
In-form Swede Jonas Blixt will be making his debut in the tournament as he seeks to play his way into Europe’s Ryder Cup team.
Blixt, currently fifth in The Race to Dubai thanks chiefly to his tied runner-up finish in the Masters Tournament, is bidding to become the first Swede since Johan Edfors in 2006 to lift the Scottish Open trophy.
Other leading contenders from Continental Europe include Thomas Björn, the current leader of The Race to Dubai, and Victor Dubuisson, the Frenchman who, like Björn, has all but guaranteed himself a Ryder Cup debut at the Gleneagles Hotel in September with a series of scintillating performances.
Björn captured his maiden European Tour title at Loch Lomond in 1996, when he beat Jean van de Velde by a single stroke, and the Dane came close to repeating the feat in the 2001 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, finishing runner-up behind Retief Goosen.
In contrast, Dubuisson will be keen to improve on a relatively moderate record in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, with a tied 17th finish last year his best performance in three appearances in the tournament.
Former champions Jeev Milkha Singh of India (2012) and Italian Edoardo Molinari (2010) will have their sights set on a second victory, whilst his younger brother Francesco will need a strong second half of the season if he is to secure his third successive Ryder Cup berth.
The same applies to Nicolas Colsaerts, one of the stars of The 2012 Ryder Cup who signalled a recent return to form with a tied runner-up finish in the Maybank Malaysia Open.
José María Olazábal, the man who masterminded the so-called ‘Miracle at Medinah’, is also in the field along with Paul McGinley, the man who replaced him as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain.
The quality line-up will also be enhanced with the inclusion of Australian Matt Jones, the winner of last month’s Shell Houston Open on the US PGA Tour who will be making his debut in a regular European Tour event.
Tickets for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen are now on sale. Full ticket information can be found here
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