Scottish Open organisers have teed up a blockbuster group for the first round of the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event at Dundonald Links tomorrow morning.
Crowds will be flocking to the 10th tee at 8.30am to follow Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler as they set out together in the £5.5 million event on the Ayrshire coast.
The star-studded group features three world top-10 players, with Stenson making his return to close to where he won the Open Championship at Royal Troon just under a year ago.
World No 4 McIlroy is the highest-ranked player in this week’s field while Fowler is bidding to repeat his victory in the event at Gullane two years ago.
Scottish No 1 Russell Knox is in another of the marquee groups for the opening round of the Rolex Series event. He is out just before McIlroy & Co with former USPGA champion Jason Dufner and Austrian ace Bernd Wiesberger.
The glamour group in the afternoon features defending champion Alex Noren, former Masters winner Adam Scott and English star Tyrrell Hatton.
Richie Ramsay, fresh from his second-placed finish in Ireland last weekend, is out in the group after that one with American Matt Kuchar and another young Englishman, Matt Fitzpatrick.
David Drysdale, who closed with a course-record 63 at Portstewart to also secure a spot in next week’s Open, is out in the morning with Ryder Cup player Andy Sullivan and Richard Bland.
US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed is the new Hero Challenge champion after defeating Tyrrell Hatton in last night’s final at Dundonald Links ahead of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
Over 3,500 fans packed around the specially-constructed par 3 on the 18th hole, as eight of the stars of this week’s event took part in an exciting one-hole knockout contest.
American star Reed emerged victorious after three head-to-head rounds, triumphing over a field that also included Henrik Stenson and Russell Knox.
“Any time you can hit some quality golf shots and have some fun with the fans is always a lot of fun,” said winner Reed.
England’s Trish Johnson recovered from finding water with her first shot of the day to retain the lead in the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship.
The former Solheim Cup star backed her brilliant opening 67 with a level-par 72 to lead by three from American Michele Redman at the halfway stage in the $600,000 event at French Lick in Indiana.
“I’m not feeling as happy as I was after day one, it was hard work and it wasn’t enjoyable,” said Johnson.
“I didn’t play well and I didn’t putt well so I suppose level par is pretty good after I lost my tee shot off the first. It was a battle to say the least.”
Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann is in a tie for third with four-time LPGA Tour winner Lorie Kane and Carolyn Hill.
Open qualifier Connor Syme helped Scotland claim fifth spot after the first of two stroke-play qualifying rounds in the European Men’s Team Championship in Austria.
The Drumoig star carded a splendid 70 at Diamond Country Club to salvage a reasonable start by the defending champions and winners, in fact, for the last two years.
In a battle for eight spots in the top match-play flight, the Scots are 14 shots behind leaders England heading into today’s second round.
Elsewhere, Scotland are 11th after round one in the women’s equivalent at Montado in Portugal, where Hannah McCook and Connie Jaffrey both carded 71s.
The boys are joint-ninth in their event at La Manga in Spain, as are the girls at St Laurence Golf Club in Finland.
Nairn’s Calum Scott, younger brother of Scottish Open qualifier Sandy, shares the lead in the Global Golf Post Scottish Under-16s Open Championship at Fairmont St Andrews.
His opening four-under-par 67 was matched by Jean Bekirian of France and England’s Benjamin Pierleoni.
A field of 26 players will contest the Grant’s Foods Scottish PGA Seniors Championship at Haggs Castle over the next two days after eligibility was reduced from the age of 50 to 48.
It includes Fraser Mann, winner of the Silversea Senior PGA Championship for the second time in three years at Foxhills in Surrey earlier this season.
Potential rivals for the Carnoustie Golf Links player in this event include Robert Arnott, Stephen McAllister, Kenny Hutton and Campbell Elliott.