EAST LOTHIAN’S PAST SCOTTISH OPEN CHAMPIONS
July saw the arrival of the world’s best men’s golfers to Scotland’s Golf Coast, as the Renaissance Club once again hosted the Genesis Scottish Open. This was the fifth consecutive year that the Renaissance has held the event and the seventh time in nine years that the Scottish Open has been on Scotland’s Golf Coast.
This year’s Genesis Scottish Open was co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, as players vied for both Race to Dubai and FedExCup points.
There have now been seven fantastic past Scottish Open Champions on the coast since 2015 . Links golf is a unique challenge as our blog highlights. Once the art of links golf has been mastered, it takes patience, focus and commitment to seal a truly well-deserved victory as Rory McIlroy demonstrated perfectly this year.
With eight of the world’s top 10 teeing off, it was always going to take a special four rounds to win this year. After all the off and on-course pressures, McIlroy had the bit between his teeth and he now ranks the Scottish Open as one of his most memorable victories. Considering the finish, this is no surprise.
Local favourite, Robert McIntyre birdied the last following a sumptuous approach shot, to sit at the top of the leaderboard on 13 under. Stood on the 17th, McIlroy needed to birdie one of the last two holes to get into a play-off. He went one better. A birdie on both to finish on 14 under, including a sumptuous 2-iron approach into wind on 18, gave McIlroy the win.
A big congratulations to this last’s winner, Xander Schauffele. In breezy conditions, but with beautiful blue sky, the tournament lived up to expectations. After 27 holes, Schauffele was nine shots off the lead, but following a terrific 2nd and 3rd round, a level par closing round was enough to secure the victory.
A seven under total demonstrated the difficult conditions, but the links golf challenge was thoroughly enjoyed by both the DP World and PGA Tour players.
Min Woo Lee
Heading to 2021, yet another play-off saw Australia’s, Min Woo Lee hole an 8-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole, to beat England’s, Matt Fitzpatrick and Belgium’s, Thomas Detry.
His second European Tour victory came as a result of solid, but compelling golf. His final 43 holes included one eagle, 15 birdies and only one bogey and Lee’s closing round of 64 included six straight birdies on the front nine.
The delayed 2020 event was moved to October and was once again settled by a play-off. Tommy Fleetwood had brilliantly birdied the 18th to force the play-off, but ultimately two easier missed putts would be his downfall.
With a total of 11 under and a closing round 64, Aaron Rai won the most notable title of his career. A three-time winner of the famous Wee Wonders junior event at Gullane, Rai clearly showed that links prowess during his victory at the Renaissance.
The following year the Scottish Open arrived at the Renaissance Club for the first time. Austrian, Bernd Wiesberger became champion, his sixth European Tour title, defeating Frenchman, Benjamin Hebert in a play-off.
Finishing on 22 under after a final round 68, after 72 holes Wiesberger sat level with Hebert who had stormed into contention with a final round 62. However, after three sudden death holes, Wiesberger came out victorious.
The Scottish Open returned to Gullane in 2018 and it was South Africa’s Brandon Stone who lifted the trophy. His 20 under total and four shot victory were impressive, but it was the final round which hit the headlines.
Needing a birdie putt on the 18th green for the first ever 59 in European Tour history, his attempt slipped by and he had to be content with a 60 and the victory. Eddie Pepperrell was runner up, following his top five finish three years earlier.
The 2015 Scottish Open was won by Rickie Fowler at Gullane Golf Club. Held on Gullane’s No1 course, this truly was a test of golfing expertise. Regularly in the world’s Top 100 golf course rankings and featuring heavily on golfer’s bucket lists, Fowler had a masterful final round on this traditional links. With birdies on 15, 16 and 18 and a final round of 68, Fowler finished on 12 under.
Fowler’s maiden European Tour victory saw him hold off Matt Kuchar, Scotland’s Marc Warren and a late challenge from France’s Raphael Jacquelin