Pro Golf Weekly

Primer: 2018 ASI Scottish Open

The European Tour travels from the northern coast of Ireland to the east coast of Scotland for the Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Open – the finale of three-straight Rolex Series events leading into the 147th Open Championship.

 
The 38th edition of Scotland’s premier golf championship will be contested at Gullane Golf Club, using composite of its award-winning No. 1 track that will mix in parts of No. 2 to form a challenging par-70 layout, stretching to 7,133 yards for the championship.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello will return to defend his 2017 title against a field headlined by the likes of Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, and Phil Mickelson.


2018 ASI SCOTTISH OPEN


THE SKINNY

Tournament: ASI Scottish Open
Dates: July 12-15, 2018
Where: Gullane, East Lothian, UK
Title Sponsor: Aberdeen Standard Investment
Course: Gullane Golf Club (Course Nos. 1 and 2)
Distance: Par 70, 7133 yards
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Purse: $7,000,000
Winning Share: $1,019,000
Defending Champion: Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Other Marquee Players: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Tyrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Ian Poulter, Russell Knox, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Julian Suri, Russell Knox, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Peter Uihlein, Haotong Li, Thomas Pieters, Charley Hoffman, Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma, Eddie Pepperell, Andy Sullivan, Lee Westwood, Paul Dunne.


WATCH & FOLLOW: ASI SCOTTISH OPEN

Round 1: Thu 5:30 am – 1:30 pm (GOLF)
Round 2: Fri 5:30 am – 1:30 pm (GOLF)
Round 3: Sat 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (GOLF)
Round 4: Sun 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (GOLF)
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HISTORY: ASI SCOTTISH OPEN

The Scottish Open debuted in 1935 at Gleneagles with Englishman Percy Alliss edging compatriot Jack Busson by four strokes to win a prize of £750. The 1936 edition was sponsored by Penfold, and titled the Penfold Scottish Open. The tournament was contested at Ayr Belleisle Golf Club with Jimmy Adams beating Tom Collinge in a 36-hole playoff.

The third installment of the Scottish Open was planned for late June, 1937 at Carnoustie in advance of the 72nd Open Championship. A last-minute objection by the R&A, though, forced tournament organizers to cancel the event.

 
The Scottish Open returned 36 years later in 1972 as part of the inaugural season of the European Tour, with Sunbeam Electric assuming the title sponsor role. The tournament, ironically, was contested the week prior to the Open Championship. It ended after a two-year run, but returned 13 years later in 1986 with Bell signing on as the title sponsor.

In 2017 it became part of the seven-event Rolex Series, with each elite tournament in the series having a minimum prize fund of $7 million.

Past winners of the Scottish Open include Graham Marsh, Ian Woosnam, Jesper Parnevik, Thomas Bjorn, Tom Lehman, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, and Rickie Fowler.

Woosnam is a three-time winner, while Els has won twice.

HISTORY: TOURNAMENT NAMES

2018-18: Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open
2012-17: Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open
2002-11: Barclays Scottish Open
2001-01: Scottish Open at Loch Lomond
1999-00: Standard Life Loch Lomond
1998-98: Standard Life World Invitational
1996-97: Loch Lomond World Invitational
1995-96: Scottish Open
1986-94: Bell’s Scottish Open
1972-73: Sunbeam Electric Scottish Open
1936-36: Penfold Scottish Open
1935-35: Scottish Open Championship

HISTORY: RECENT WINNERS

2017: Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-13)
2016: Alex Noren (-14)
2015: Rickie Fowler (-12)
2014: Justin Rose (-16)
2013: Phil Mickelson (-17)
2012: Jeev Milkha Singh (-17)

HISTORY: TOURNAMENT RECORDS

WINS
3 – Ian Woosnam (1987, 1990, 1996)
2 – Ernie Els (2000, 2003)

SCORING
264 (−20) – Ian Woosnam (1987)
264 (−18) – Peter O’Malley (1992)


DEFENDING: RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO

Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello posted a course-record 8-under 64 in the final round, and edged England’s Callum Shinkwin in a playoff to win the 2017 Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.

 

Shinkwin appeared to be a lock to win his first European Tour title, but the 24-year-old muffed his chip shot on 18, and then left a 4-foot par-putt about two inches short.

It was Shinkwin’s only bogey of the day, and left him tied with the 33-year-old Spaniard at 13-under.

In the first playoff hole, Cabrera Bello hit a near-perfect approach to the par-5 18th, and two-putted for a birdie 4. Shinkwin had a chance to push the hole, but left his birdie putt just short, once again.

“I was very happy, I really gave it a go in the playoff and it worked out for me. I enjoy those pressure situations, they really define you,” said Cabrera-Bello.

The win was the third for Cabrera-Bello, and his first since 2012.

FINAL TOP 5

1. Rafael Cabrera Bello -13
2. Callum Shinkwin -13
3. Matthieu Pavon -10
4. Padraig Harrington -8
4. Matt Kuchar- 8
4. Anthony Wall -8
4. Ryan Fox -8
4. Andrew Dodt -8


ASI SCOTTISH OPEN FIELD

The field in Gullane is headlined by superstars Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, and Phil Mickelson, among a bevy of top-ranked players.

 
Leading the way is world No. 3 Rose who will be teeing it up for the first time since a T10 at the U.S. Open. The 37-year old Englishman is in the midst of another superb season, which includes two wins and six additional top 10s in just 13 starts between the two major tours.

Rose, who has yet to go home empty handed this season, will be teeing it up for the third time in a pure European Tour event (T10 Hong Kong, T22 Abu Dhabi). As a former winner here (2014, Royal Aberdeen), Rose is a top favorite with U.K. bookmakers at 10-1.

The other co-favorite is Fowler, who also owns a Scottish Open title, with his victory coming at this year’s host venue – Gullane Golf Club (2015).

Fowler has enjoyed a typical Fowler season, with all kinds of top 10s and top 20s, but no victories. The now 29-year old American is ranked No. 7 in the world and is entering off four straight top 20s, including a disappointing T12 against a very weak field at the Quicken Loans National. In the majors, Fowler has posted a T20 (U.S. Open) and T2 (Masters).

 
Still, despite the lack of wins, Fowler remains an elite golfer and is almost guaranteed to be near the top of the leaderboard come the weekend.

At No. 13 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Reed is the third highest ranked player in the field, and one of the top-5 favorites to take home the trophy this weekend. The controversial Texan, and reigning Masters winner, will be making his first start since a miss at the Travelers.

Reed is having a terrific season, and on top of the Masters title, finished fourth at the U.S. Open and owns three additional top 10s. Reed is a member of the European Tour, and by virtue of his win at Augusta, is the leading points getter in the Race to Dubai.

 
After Reed, the next highest ranked player in the field is Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who appears to be back after struggling for much of the late spring/early summer, following a wrist injury in Phoenix which sidelined him for a month.

After a missed-cut at the PLAYERS in May, Matsuyama has posted three-straight top 20s, two of them in elite field events (T13 Memorial, T16 U.S. Open). When he’s on, Matsuyama is one of the top-5 players in the world, and with his game trending up, he’s well worth an option at 20-1 odds.

The last of the top-20 ranked players in the field is Mickelson, who checks in right on the number at No. 20.

Mickelson has sort of gone backwards (relatively speaking) since a torrid stretch in the spring, highlighted by a win at the WGC event in Mexico. Since that win south of the border, Phil has posted just a single top 10 (T5 Wells Fargo) in nine starts with his last two appearances highlighted by controversial penalties, resulting in low finishes (T48 U.S. Open, T65 Grenbrier).

 

No matter his recent regression, he was in top form just three months ago, and if you really look at the macro of the two recent poor starts, they had a lot more to do with Phil being too clever by half (which backfired on him) than poor performance.

In a tournament that he’s won before and in a locale that adores him, the 5-time major winner should be a strong favorite this weekend.

Tyrrell Hatton is ranked No. 23 and after an ugly six-start stretch (T44-MC-T42-MC-MC-MC-MC) the Englishman enters off two-straight top 20s, highlighted by a T6 at the U.S. Open. Prior to that aforementioned slump, Hatton was off to a terrific start in 2018, highlighted by two top 10s in the WGC events. He seemingly had the inside track to a Ryder Cup spot, but as he’s regressed, others have moved up. A win this week would go a long way in securing a tee time in France this fall.

Defending champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello, ranked No. 25 in the world, enters off two-straight missed-cuts at Rolex events which have greatly hurt his chances for a Ryder Cup spot. And before that, a T36 at the U.S. Open didn’t help either.

However, prior to those three duds, the 34-year old Spaniard was enjoying another strong under-the-radar type season, and had posted two-straight top 10s in the opening two Rolex events (Italian Open 4th, BMW PGA T8), which followed a top 20 finish (T17) at TPC Sawgrass, on top of a T3 at the WGC-Mexico and a T6 in Dubai.

 

Cabrera-Bello has the experience and resume for a Ryder Cup spot, but he will need to turn it around in a hurry, and Scotland would be a good place to start.

Another player to keep an eye on is Englishman Ian Poulter, who since late March – 11 starts in total – has only once finished outside the top 25, with four of those being top 10s, highlighted by a win at the Houston Open. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Poulter finish with another top 10 – even a win – as he makes a serious bid for his sixth European Ryder Cup appearance.

Finally, Russell Knox has clearly busted out of a lengthy slump with a three-start stretch of T12, T2, W – all against elite fields (U.S. Open, French Open, Irish Open), so keep an eye on Knox, who is another European player vying for a spot on Thomas Bjorn’s team this fall.


ASI SCOTTISH OPEN ODDS

Gullane Golf Club | Gullane, East Lothian, UK | July 12-15, 2018

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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