Slattery sees hard work paying off in Scotland

Lee Slattery cast aside any doubts he may have had about mixing it with the European Tour's young guns with a brilliant 64-64 start to the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open - Day Two

The Englishman is a two time winner on Tour since topping the European Challenge Tour Rankings in 2004 but came close to the biggest win of his career last season, firing a third round 62 at the Italian Open on his way to finishing third - his best result in a Rolex Series event.

The 2019 Race to Dubai has not been quite so kind with ten missed cuts from 15 events but 40-year-old Slattery feels he is now finding his feet again after making some changes in the off season.

"At home this year, I put a gym in the house and a putting green indoors and I've been working hard on those aspects on my game," he said.

"I've worked probably harder this winter than I've ever worked in the past. Doing a lot of work in the gym and changing the body a little bit and just trying to hit it further to keep up with the young guys because they all hit it so far nowadays.

"You turn 40 and you think, 'have I got another good ten years left in me?'. It was the only way to do it. It's taken a while to kick in but hopefully I'll start to play better now finishing the season.

"I've been out here so long now. This is my 15th year on the European Tour and it's been an interesting career but I've mainly played European Tour golf and it's been good fun.

"I would have liked to have had more than two wins and I've been in contention a number of times but I think playing well last year in a Rolex Series event in Italy with (Francesco) Molinari, and I played with Thorbjørn (Olesen) who won it. 

"I managed to shoot 62 in the third round so I'll certainly feed off all that and just believe that I can go out there and try and win it. A lot of Rolex Series events to play and I feel I need to push this finishing part of the season.

"I didn't play too much in the early part of the year which is different for me. I spent more time with the family, I've got a young family and felt like it was important to spend more time with them this winter."

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open - Day Two

One of those young players making an impact is Erik van Rooyen, who matched Slattery's start at The Renaissance Club to also sit at 14 under.

The South African has two second place finishes on the European Tour this season and he would love to turn his growing confidence into a maiden victory this week.

"I had a good season last year," he said. "I feel like we're just building upon that. A couple of good finishes this year as well and it's just fun to play back to back good rounds.

"I love links golf. This is obviously the home of golf, Scotland, so it would be wonderful to get my first win here."