Scott Henry needs Scottish Open invite if he can't qualify

Scott Henry is hoping he has stopped the rot in the nick of time to secure a Scottish Open spot, either through next week's qualifier for the £5.5 million Aberdeen Asset Management-backed event or being successful in landing a sponsor's invitation.

Scott Henry will play in Aviemore this week. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images

The 30-year-old ended a run of 14 straight cuts this season as he finished joint 10th behind Argentine Andres Romero in the BMW International Open in Munich last weekend, marking his best performance on the European Tour since just missing out on getting into a play-off in the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Despite that effort, Henry didn’t get into this week’s French Open, leaving him in action instead on the home front in the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore, but he’s hoping to be back among the big boys in a fortnight’s time when Dundonald Links hosts the Scottish Open for the first time.

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“It’s frustrating, really,” he said of finding himself not involved at the start of three successive Rolex Series events in a row after finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, helped by a third-round 66 and a gutsy last-day effort in Germany. “I would have loved to have played these next few weeks. I have asked for an invitation to the Scottish Open and I’m hoping that last week goes in my favour. At this point in time, I need this invitation more than I ever have. To miss three tournaments in a row on the main Tour at this stage would really be a smack in the face, especially with one being in Scotland.”

Henry’s rivals in this week’s event on home soil include Chase Koepka, who already had a hard act to follow when making his first Challenge Tour appearance in this event 12 months ago but is now 
facing a gargantuan task given that his big brother, Brooks, used a 2013 win in the Highlands as a stepping stone to becoming US Open champion.

“I’m really proud to say that my brother is a major champion,” said the 23-year-old, who missed the cut a year ago but is in good fettle for this crack after recording top fives in two of his last three events. “It is quite nice that he sets a very high bar, which pushes me to keep on going. He has been such a big mentor for me, especially pushing me to come and play in Europe, and to see him keep on doing well and to be top 10 in the world is quite special.

“I sent him a message yesterday saying ‘I feel like everywhere I go to you have a course record [his 62 in 2013 was matched last year by winner James Heath]’. He has left big foot prints, but I don’t mind. It is awesome to see that he won here and that sealed his promotion to the European Tour.”

Jamie McLeary, the 2009 winner, Craig Lee and Grant Forrest are among those joining Henry in trying to land a Scottish success in an event that also features Irishman Michael Hoey, who beat Rory McIlroy by two shots to land the Dunhill Links in 2011.