Phil Mickelson’s majestic birdie in a play-off with Branden Grace not only provided a superb finale to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, but it also helped boost the final fundraising total for the tournament’s two Official Charities.
Mickelson’s sublime chip to the first extra hole to a few inches to set up the winning birdie was one of most memorable shots played over the four tournament days at Castle Stuart Golf Links, and it also swelled the funds raised for Maggie’s Highlands and Connecting Carers, as part of the Aberdeen Asset Management Birdie Pledge.
The initiative saw title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management and the Tour Players Foundation (TPF) – the charitable arm of The European Tour - both donate £5 for every birdie, £10 for every eagle and £50 for every albatross.
Mickelson’s decisive birdie not only secured a first regular European Tour title for the American, it also took the Birdie Pledge fundraising total to £19,296, as a result of 1780 birdies across the four tournament days, raising £17,800, and 64 eagles, adding £1,280 to the total.
Italian Matteo Manassero’s first hole in one as a professional on the eighth hole during the third round also proved to be one of the highlights of the tournament, with Aberdeen and the TPF jointly donating the sum of £216 - £1 for each yard of the hole - to the Aberdeen Asset Management Birdie Pledge.
Additionally, significant funds were raised via a variety of other initiatives staged at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, including a total of £10,440 by spectators when they made a suggested donation of £1 in exchange for the Official Drawsheet of the Championship.
During the Wednesday Pro-Am, more than £13,000 was raised through two separate initiatives.
Firstly, a generous benefactor donated £10,000 for a Pro-Am team to play with European Tour winner Scott Jamieson.
Secondly, the Tartan Trews Initiative saw Paul Lawrie, Nicolas Colsaerts, Martin Laird, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jiménez and defending champion Jeev Milkha Singh all wear traditional clan tartans in support of the Official Charities, with Aberdeen Asset Management donating £500 for each professional – resulting in a collective total of £3,000.
When added together, all of the initiatives across the week raised a grand total of £42,376, which will be shared equally by the two Official Charities, allowing the championship to leave a lasting legacy in the Inverness and Highlands region surrounding Castle Stuart Golf Links.
Furthermore, the European Tour Professionals and The European Tour paid a special tribute to two Aberdeen Asset Management employees, Andrew McMenigall and Toby Wallace, who tragically died at the beginning of July whilst on a charity bike ride to raise funds in memory of their colleague Kirsten Scott, who passed away from cancer in October 2011 shortly after her 25th birthday. The pair had planned to stop off at Castle Stuart last week on their way to the finish line at John O'Groats, 120 miles north of the course.
Each professional donated their pro-am prize money which The European Tour fund-matched, enabling a total donation of £14,000 to the Kirsten Scott Memorial Trust, a grant-giving trust that aims to empower young people.
Peter Adams, Championship Director of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, said: “We are delighted with the fundraising total generated for our two Official Charities, who carry out such great work in the local area. The European Tour is pleased to contribute greatly to the fundraising total and we thank Aberdeen Asset Management for their partnership and support, as well as the spectators for their generosity”.
“A special thank you must also go to our professionals for making the special donation to the Kirsten Scott Memorial Trust, with The European Tour being proud to fund-match their donations to produce a significant donation in memory of Andrew and Toby.”
Lynda Affleck, Head of Charitable Giving at Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “We're delighted that the fundraising initiatives over the five days, combined with some tremendous golf, raised even more than last year for the two local charities selected. We hope the event will have highlighted the great work of Connecting Carers and Maggie's Highlands to everyone living and working in the area.
"The generosity of the Pro-Am players and the Tour Players Foundation towards Kirsten's Trust, in memory of Andrew and Toby, is fantastic and we'd like to thank everyone for their kindness."
Connecting Carers reaches out to deliver services to unpaid adult and young carers living in the Highland region.
Elaine Adams, spokesperson for Connecting Carers, said: "Connecting Carers were delighted to be nominated by Aberdeen Asset Management as a chosen local charity for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. Both staff and volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the entire event and would like to offer very grateful thanks for all the hard work undertaken on their behalf by the staff team. We are thrilled with the amount of money that has been raised and would especially like to thank everyone who so generously donated. We will be using the money for carers education to enable them to feel more confident in their caring role.”
Maggie’s Highlands offers free emotional, practical and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends.
Elma Mackay, Maggie’s Fundraising Organiser, added: “It was an amazing experience for Maggie’s Highlands to be involved with this year’s Scottish Open. The funds raised from the event will go towards developing the programme in our centre which is based at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. This means more support for people with cancer, their friends and their families. I am also confident that the exposure the charity has received locally because of the event will encourage more people affected by cancer to use the centre for practical, emotional and psychological support. We very much appreciate the generosity of The European Tour and Aberdeen Asset Management for choosing Maggie’s Highlands as one of their charities for 2013.”
Both charities were jointly appointed by title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management and the Tour Players Foundation.