Scottish Open moves to links course at Castle Stuart from Loch Lomond

edoardo molinari
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Defending champion Edoardo Molinari might be sad to leave Loch Lomond, but many players are pleased with the decision to play a links course the week before the British Open.
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PA Sport

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Published: Monday, January 24, 2011 | 12:29 p.m.

The Barclays Scottish Open will be played at Castle Stuart near Inverness on July 7-10, European Tour officials have announced. Loch Lomond has hosted the event for the last 15 years.

"It is always exciting to break new ground and everyone at the Tour is delighted to be staging one of our most prestigious events at a new venue which has been so widely acclaimed," said European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady.

The prize fund remains at £3million, with a winner's cheque of £500,000.

Italian Edoardo Molinari will defend the title against a field already known to include Masters champion Phil Mickelson, U.S. Open titleholder Graeme McDowell and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

"I know I'm looking forward to testing my game on a strong links course the week before the Open Championship,” said Mickelson, a strong supporter of the event down the years. "And I'm sure a number of top players from the PGA Tour will be taking advantage of the opportunity. This is set up to be outstanding for the tournament, the players and the fans."

As is tradition, the event comes the week before the British Open, this year at Royal St. George’s in England.

"We have always received requests from professionals to host the Barclays Scottish Open at a links course and we are delighted the European Tour has selected Castle Stuart,” said Tim Peat, managing director of Barclays Capital. "We are confident this new links course will be a fantastic venue for the golfing public and our clients to watch the world's best golfers compete."

"Castle Stuart is reputed to be a fine addition to Scotland's links courses and I think many players will welcome the opportunity to play competitive links golf the week prior to the Open Championship, which has proved to be ideal preparation for me in the past," said Harrington, who had skipped the event in recent years to play in the much-smaller Irish PGA Championship instead.

McDowell also praised the change in venue.

"I will always have wonderful memories of my victory at Loch Lomond in 2008. However, I am delighted at the prospect of playing two classic links courses in consecutive weeks this year,” he said. "As a native of Portrush I grew up with links golf and I've heard some great reports about Castle Stuart and am really looking forward to playing the course."