What marks did Scottish golfers earn on 2021 European Tour?
Bookended by two strong performances in the desert - he finished third in the Dubai Desert Classic at the start of the campaign before signing off with a tie for fourth in the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday - all that was missing for the 25-year-old from Oban was a win. He’ll be a tad frustrated about that, but, at the same time, MacIntyre underlined the fact he has the game to potentially land the game’s biggest prizes. He tied for 12th on his Masters debut before recording a second successive top-10 finish in The Open. In between, the left-hander topped a group that included Dustin Johnson, the world No 1 at the time, in the WGC Match Play. It was the low point in his career so far when he closed with an 82 in the Portugal Masters last month, but that x-factor was back in the season-ending Rolex Series event in Dubai. He finished ninth in the Race to Dubai - the first Scot to secure a top-10 spot since Paul Lawrie in 2012. With earnings of €1,532,415 for the season, his career earnings already stand at close to €4.2 million and he’s only played in 67 events. Grade A
The quiet man among golf’s Tartan Army once again let his clubs do the talking. A three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, Hill landed his maiden victory on the main circuit with victory in the Cazoo Classic at London Golf Club in mid-August. The breakthrough had been coming for the Kirkcaldy-born player, who had handed himself a huge confidence boost when finishing fourth behind the aforementioned Johnson in the Saudi International before knocking on the door in two events in Kenya, the Betfred British Masters and the Hero Open. The 27-year-old looked to have tied down a spot in the 150th Open at St Andrews next year when he recorded a top-20 finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the end of September only to suffer a sore end to the season - and in more ways than one. A mosquito bite and infection from it forced him to withdraw from his last two events, meaning that he slipped out of the top 30 in the Race to Dubai. Nonetheless, 32nd spot marked an impressive season and, with just 50 appearances under his belt, he is just getting started. Grade B+
A week before Hill’s win, Forrest had also made his breakthrough with a success on home soil in the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews. The 28-year-old finished birdie-birdie to get the job done, landing his first title triumph in the professional ranks in the process. After a solid start to the season, Forrest was struggling with a hip injury and also mentally as he went off the boil for a spell before tying for fourth in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in early July. He signed off the season with a run of making eight straight cuts, including a tie for third in the Spanish Open last month before finishing in the top 20 in the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday. Forrest ended up 36th in the Race to Dubai, which represented a significant improvement on his first two seasons as on the top tour, having been 94th in 2019 then 72nd last year. He’s also up to 162nd in the world after being outside the top 300 at the end of 2020. Grade B+
In finishing 74th in the Race to Dubai, the 38-year-old jumped 40 spots from 2020, which was down to him making a lot of cuts, including 14 in 15 events from March through to mid-August. That run included a tie for fourth in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and another top-10 finish in the Cazoo Classic. In his 13th consecutive season on tour, Ramsay also made the top 20 in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on home soil. However, he’ll be disappointed that he never managed to get himself in contention to have a chance of adding to his three tour triumphs. Wentworth and Valderrama are two places he’d fancy his chances, but he finished outside the top 50 at the former on this occasion then missed the cut at the latter. Grade C
Given that he missed the cut in eight of his first 10 events and found his back against the wall in the season his exemption for winning the ISPS Handa Vic Open in 2019 ran out, the Aberdonian did well to turn things around. With a bit of luck, in fact, he could easily have finished a lot higher than 100th in the Race to Dubai. As the work he’d put in with coach Alan McCloskey really started to pay dividends, he played really well for three days in the abrdn Scottish Open before having to settle for a tie for 35th. The 30-year-old then got himself in the mix in the Hero Open, finishing joint-fourth at Fairmont St Andrews, before producing another strong display when making the top 15 in the BMW PGA Championship. He’d be a touch disappointed to see his form fizzle out a bit in the final few weeks of the season, but you get the feeling that it’s onwards and upwards for Law. Grade C
It was a tale of two halves for the 26-year-old Fifer. Helped by a closing 64, he handed himself an early boost when finishing third in the Magical Kenya Open in March before quickly adding another top-five effort in Gran Canaria. Syme was still ticking along nicely until the end of July, having added three more top-20 finishes, as well as picking up another decent cheque in the abrdn Scottish Open. However, he then missed seven cuts in his last nine events of the campaign. While never in danger of losing his card, he’ll probably feel disappointed to end up 104th in the Race to Dubai given that his sights would have been on being in the top 50 at the midway point. Grade C-
There can be no denying that the Glaswegian will be disappointed that it wasn’t until the penultimate event of the season before his card was secured for a 12th consecutive season. He handed himself the perfect platform to perhaps even make it his best year yet after starting the campaign with a top-20 finish in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship then taking his earnings over €100,000 with another promising effort in Dubai the following week, but the spark had gone out by the middle of the season came around. The Florida-based Glaswegian missed six cuts in eight events from May through to early August, putting himself under pressure before chalking up a timely top-10 finish in the Italian Open then backing that up with another good display in the Andalucia Masters. With the weight lifted off his shoulders, it was much more like it again from the soon-to-be 38-year-old as he signed off with a tie for 13th in the AVIV Dubai Championship. Grade C-
Taken purely at face value, you could say it was a disappointing season for Warren as he finished 109th - a spot behind his big buddy Jamieson - in the Race to Dubai. However, the fact he managed to hang on to his card given that he missed a chunk of the campaign due to a back issue that left him struggling to walk and seemed to be bothered by that even after returning to action means it would be wrong to think that. It was thanks to one big performance, finishing in a tie for fifth in the season-opener and picking up a wad of cash, that he held on to his card, but Warren isn’t the first player to do that and certainly won’t be the last. Grade C-
The Cockburnspath man played in 30 events - the most along with Englishman Ashley Chesters. How ironic then that the fight for the 121st and final card up for grabs came mainly down to that pair on the last day of the regular season. Despite missing the cut in that event in Dubai, Drysdale just managed to stay above the card cut-off mark, meaning the 46-year-old will have full playing privileges for the 18th successive season. His best effort in 2021 was a tie for fifth in the Kenya Savannah Classic, but, on too many occasions, he was left feeling frustrated by being unable to string four good rounds together. Grade D
In his 25th season on the circuit, the four-time tour winner became just the 14th player to clock up 600 appearances. He’d have been happier if that had coincided with him finishing a bit higher than 130th in the Race to Dubai. But, thanks to his victory in the 2019 Hero Indian Open, the 47-year-old still has full playing privileges for next season. Suffering a cracked bone in his hand in a cycling accident contributed to Gallacher’s position in the final standings and, buoyed by some encouraging performances, notably a tie for 25th in the BMW PGA Championship, he is already relishing the challenges ahead in the new campaign. Grade D
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