East Lothian links play host to top amateurs

AMATEUR golfers from 37 countries, including Bolivia, India, China and Australia, will arrive in Scotland this week ahead of the 2010 Amateur Championship.

A strong international field containing 11 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) top 20 will contest the championship at Muirfield and North Berwick next week, when a place at the 150th anniversary Open Championship and the 2011 Masters are on offer for the champion. The highest-ranked player in the field is the USA's Jonathan Randolph at fourth in the world.

He leads a strong American contingent of 25 players at Muirfield and North Berwick, all hoping to emulate fellow American Drew Weaver, the 2007 Amateur champion at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

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Ranked just below the American at sixth in the world is South Korea's Jin Jeong. Jeong, who plays most of his golf in Australia, earned his Amateur exemption courtesy of a three-shot victory at the Riversdale Cup in March.

Another man to watch is Australian Matt Jager, winner of both the Australian Match Play and Stroke Play championships in consecutive weeks earlier this year. The 21-year-old, who also claimed the New Zealand Amateur in 2010, is currently ranked 48th in the world.

Two of last year's semi-finalists, Stiggy Hodgson and Darren Renwick, both return in the hope of improving on their Formby performances.

Two-time Faldo Series Asia champion Rashid Khan will also take his place on the East Lothian links next week. The 19-year-old, ranked 29th in the world, has won four times in 2010, most recently at the Punjab Open in early May. Britons to watch include England's Tommy Fleetwood, Welshman Rhys Enoch, Alan Dunbar of Northern Ireland and Scots James Byrne and David Law. Fleetwood, currently ranked tenth in the world, lost to Dutchman Reinier Saxton in the final of the 2008 Amateur Championship at Turnberry and reached the quarter-finals at Formby last year.

Byrne is the highest-ranked Scot at 18th in the world, while 19-year-old Law is the reigning Scottish Boys and Scottish Amateur champion.