8am Round-Up: Business as usual for Scottish Opens

Aberdeen Asset Management is scheduled to be the title sponsor of the Scottish Open until 2020. Picture: Jane Barlow
Aberdeen Asset Management is scheduled to be the title sponsor of the Scottish Open until 2020. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Aberdeen Asset Management’s merger with Standard Life is not expected to have any immediate impact on its golf sponsorship.

The company, with golf fanatic Martin Gilbert as its chief executive, is Scottish golf’s biggest backer, both at the top level and down at the grass-roots.

AAM’s sponsorship of the men’s Scottish Open is due to be in place until 2020, with this year’s event at Dundonald Links enjoying a significant prize fund rise due to it being part of the European Tour’s new Rolex Series.

The pot is going up from £3.5 million to £5.6 million, though that additional money is coming out of the European Tour coffers as opposed to being stumped up by AAM.

In a first for the Scottish Opens, the men’s and ladies’ events are being staged at the same venue this year.

Taking place a fortnight after the men’s tournament at the Ayrshire course, the Ladies Scottish Open is also set to boast a significantly increased prize fund of £1.2 million.

That’s the richest on the Ladies European Tour and is a result of the event becoming part of the LPGA schedule through a co-sanctioning agreement.

In addition to the events it backs, AAM also sponsors a whole host of Scottish players, including Russell Knox, Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie, Martin Laird, Catriona Matthew and Marc Warren.

It also supports the game at amateur level through its backing of Scottish Golf.

Standard Life, meanwhile, is a global sponsor of the Ryder Cup, having previously been involved in golf when it backed an event at Loch Lomond from 1998 to 2000 before it became the Scottish Open.

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Irish businessman JP McManus is hoping to stage the 2026 at Adare Manor.

He is spending an estimated €50 million on an upgrade of the resort he bought for around €30 million in 2014.

The work has seen 40 bedrooms added to the hotel in a new wing, as well as the addition of a new ballroom.

“The Ryder cup is a very, very big ask and, like every other golf club in Ireland, we’d be delighted to host the Ryder Cup, but it’s one of [my] long-standing term dreams,” said McManus.

“The soonest possible time [to host it] would be 2026, if you’re ever going to get it. But, there’s an awful lot of tough competition from within Europe and Britain, and I’m sure, from the rest of Ireland.

“I do believe we have the facilities and an area and a venue that can cater for it.”

Ireland staged the Ryder Cup at The K Club in 2006.

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Two-time LET winner Kylie Henry is chasing her first success on the Sunshine Ladies Tour after moving into contention in the Joburg Ladies Open.

A second-round 69 for a three-under-par total left the Scot sitting fifth, four shots behind England’s Lauren Taylor, heading into the final 18 holes at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

Henry, who’d opened with a 72, picked up five birdies in eight holes around the turn before taking the gloss of her day’s work by running up a double-bogey 5 at the short 16th.

Having carded rounds of 68 and 69, Taylor leads by a shot from home player Kim Williams, while another South African, Ashleigh Buhai, is a shot further back in third position.

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Grant Forrest and Jack Doherty are among four Scots trying their luck in the MENA Tour Qualifying School, which gets underway in Morocco today.

El Jadida Golf Club in Mazagan hosts the event, which involves a cut after two rounds before the top 70 battle it out on the final day for playing rights on the third-tier circuit that is mainly based in the UAE.

Also flying the Saltire are Graeme Stewart and Scott Newbould.

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Rory Franssen finished just outside the top 10 in the Tiger Invitational at Grand National Lake Course in Opelika, Alabama.

The Inverness teenager, who is at Missouri, shot 70-72-71 for three-under, finishing 10 behind winner Thomas Eldridge (UNCW).

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The European Senior Tour will make history in the United Arab Emirates this month as the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters will become the first European Tour, European Challenge Tour or Senior Tour event to be played on a nine-hole golf course.

Being held at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, the event will see competitors will negotiate the nine-hole Peter Harradine-designed course twice on each tournament day, with the par-3 and par-5 holes being played from varying tees throughout the tournament week, a format which has never been used during a European Tour-sanctioned event.

“With the recent and exciting innovations on the European Tour such as GolfSixes, and on the European Challenge Tour with their Match Play 9 event in May, we are delighted to create our own piece of European Tour history at the inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters,” said David MacLaren, head of the European Senior Tour.

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Chris Doak carded the day’s best score - a five-under-par 67 - to claim a share of fourth spot in an Algarve Pro Tour event at Quinta da Ria Golf Club.

Doak’s effort gave him a six-under-par total, finishing two shots behind Englishman Jamie Abbot (67-69).

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Long-time friends Graham Fox and Alan Reid joined forces to claim a share of the spoils in a PGA in Scotland fourball event at Archerfield Links.

They shot an eight-under-par 64, which was matched by Ross Leeds and Michael Mackenzie at the East Lothian venue.

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Sandy Scott is tied for 40th after two rounds in the Southern Highlands Collegiate event in Las Vegas.

The Nairn teenager, who is at Texas Tech, has opened with two 74s to sit on two-over, eight off the pace.

California’s Collin Morikawa leads by a a shot from Maverick McNealy (Stanford)