Top Gullane group for on-form Russell Knox

On-form Russell Knox has been handed one of the top groups in the opening two rounds of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane.

Russell Knox will play his opening two rounds at Gullane in the company of Patrick Reed and Ian Poulter. Picture: Getty Images

He’ll begin his bid to become the first home winner of the event since Colin Montgomerie in 1999 in the company of Masters champion Patrick Reed and Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter.

The trio are out at 1.40pm in Thursday’s opening round in the $7 million Rolex Series event then tee off at 9am in the second round round on Friday.

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Knox is riding on the crest of a wave coming into the event, having tied for second in the French Open before winning the Irish Open last Sunday.

Stephen Gallacher can also expect to have a big group watching him on the first two days - and not just because the event is being held in his native Lothians.

The Ryder Cup player is in the same group as American ace Matt Kuchar and former world No 1 Lee Westwood, who now lives in Edinburgh. They are out at 1.20pm on Thursday then 8.40am on Friday.

The two big morning groups in the first round feature former winners Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler.

Mickelson, who claimed the title at Castle Stuart in 2013, is out with two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington and Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat at 8.40am.

Rose, the winner at Royal Aberdeen four years ago, and Fowler, who claimed the title here in 2015, are in the next group along with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.

Conor O’Neil, one of the four qualifiers at Longniddry on Sunday, has been handed the honour of hitting the opening shot in this year’s event.

He’s on the tee at 6.30am on Thursday along with Austrian Matthias Schwab and Jinho Choi of Korea.

The last of 52 groups tee off at 3.40pm.