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ERNIE Els reckons that his nickname, the Big Easy, gives the wrong impression and doesn’t do his competitive nature justice. "I’m not totally for it," he says.
THE winning run of Elgin’s Keith Meisner ended in Saturday’s 18 and under final of the Scottish Tennis International at Craiglockhart.
WARMING up in the best possible manner for the imminent defence of his Open Championship title, Ernie Els is a comfortable 54-hole leader in the Scottish Open Championship at Loch Lomond.
AN AMERICAN can make a negligible impression at the Scottish Open though still make a considerable one on a willing audience. Take Phil Mickelson for example. After his see-saw third round 70, he passed a full 15 minutes autographing the hats and programmes of punters, both young and old, who had traipsed around 18 morning holes at Loch Lomond, keeping Phil company.
RETURNING from a midsummer break several weeks before the football season starts is rarely advisable. It is that time of year when those sections of the media that refuse to allow a close season are at their most fatuous, with molehills blithely enlarged into mountains before our very eyes virtually on a daily basis.
AGAIN the early birds caught the storm. Gusting winds and rain swept Loch Lomond, making life awkward for those whose lot it was to rise with the lark and try to make the best of their second rounds in the Barclays Scottish Open. That consummate professional, Mark McNulty, walked serenely on to the fifth tee (his 14th) and you’d never have known he was on his way to a 75 and an 11-over-par total of 153.
FOR Chad Campbell, the opportunity to play in next week’s Open for the first time is an experience he expects to treasure. The young Texan has clawed his way out of the Nationwide Tour onto the US PGA Tour and reckons the experience has made him more appreciative of life at the top as well as hungrier for success.
ANDREW Coltart put a new putter in his bag and found fresh inspiration at Loch Lomond yesterday to card 68 for 143, one over par, and make the cut with something to spare in the Barclays Scottish Open.
FORFAR’s Stuart Wilson, the Scottish amateur most likely to figure in the Great Britain and Ireland side which meets America in September’s Walker Cup match, underlined his case for inclusion at Ganton with a sparkling outward half of 33 yesterday in the first round of the Barclays Scottish Open.
AS AN old hand at the Barclays Scottish Open, Ernie Els knows the benefit of getting off to a flier. Tom Lehman showed the rest a clean pair of heels with a 65 en route to victory at Loch Lomond in 1997 and Retief Goosen went lower with a 62 in 2001. While Els’ 64 yesterday wasn’t quite as emphatic as Goosen’s declaration of intent two years past, it was convincing enough to persuade most onlookers the South African’s run of outstanding performances in Scotland is set to continue.
AS WELL as being one of the longest hitters in golf, John Daly also has one of the shortest fuses. Yesterday at Loch Lomond, it was safe to say the former Open and US PGA champion felt sorely aggrieved when a brace of European Tour officials refused to grant him a free drop on the 16th.
ONE of the great strengths of top professionals is their ability to hold together rounds which could, in lesser hands, easily fall apart. The early conditions at Loch Lomond yesterday were made for collapsing golfers and it was, therefore, something of a treat to watch Ireland’s Darren Clarke and the defending Barclays Scottish Open champion, Eduardo Romero, going about their business - particularly as they had to do so in the slipstream of a rampant Ernie Els.
TIGER WOODS prefers to practise on links courses building up to the Open, but world No.2 Ernie Els and Ireland’s Darren Clarke were happy to be on the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond as they began today’s Scottish Open.
IN MUCH the same way that bacon tends to be mentioned along with eggs, so the Barclays Scottish Open tends to be linked with the Open championship which comes hard on its heels. It’s not really a disadvantage to the Loch Lomond event, however, for the strength of the field and the quality of the venue ensures that it carries its own glamour.
AFTER finishing second in both the Diageo Championship and the European Open over the past month, Alastair Forsyth comes into the Barclays Scottish Open believing he’s got the hang of managing his emotions under pressure.
JOSE Maria Olazabal, the two-time Masters champion, spoke yesterday of his enduring desire to win the major which means the most to him - the Open, and of his conviction that mounting a future staging of the Barclay’s Scottish Open on a links would further enhance the prestige of an event which already boasts the strongest field in Europe outside the Open.
FRESH from a fortnight’s break, Ernie Els is in confident mood as he prepares for this week’s Scottish Open and the defence of his Open title at Royal St George’s in nine days.
ONE of the strongest fields assembled in Europe this season will draw record crowds to Loch Lomond this week to watch a glittering cast of contenders, including Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and John Daly, challenge defending champion Eduardo Romero at the £2.2million Barclays Scottish Open.