Loch Lomond warmup for Carnoustie hopefuls
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2007 Scottish Open | Preview | 11 Jul 2007
Despite regular calls for the lead in event to the British Open Championship to be played at a venue more in keeping with the style of course typically used for the Open Championship the following week, the Barclays Scottish Open will this week again be played at Loch Lomond Golf Club.
The Loch Lomond Golf Club is a fine golf course in its own right however, the Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrrish layout considered by many to be one of the better inland courses in Britain.
As has been the case in recent years the tournament has brought together an outstanding field headed by the world number three, Phil Mickelson, the two time winner, Ernie Els, a rejuvenated Colin Montgomerie and the US Open champion, Angel Cabrera.
Last year, Johan Edfors won his third tournament of the season when he beat Andres Romero, Charl Schwartzel and Luke Donald by two shots but the Swede is a long way from that form in 2007 and is unlikely to repeat his heroics of 2006.
It is clear that Ernie Els and Loch Lomond get along just fine. The South African is not playing at his best at present but he is playing well enough to contend again this week. His recent 7th place finish in Germany was a good effort and is sure to be in contention come Sunday.
Mickelson has played this event in recent years as a means of acclimatising himself for golf in Britain prior to the Open Championship. This policy has been rewarded with a better showing at the Open during that time including his best finish, a 3rd at Royal Troon in 2004. Mickelson has been plagued by his wrist injury in recent starts but if he has recovered sufficiently he could be a factor. It is hard to imagine him winning however.
Luke Donald was third last year and although his missed cut was disappointing at the US Open, he is a class player and might repeat his 2006 effort.
Angel Cabrera’s feet may well have returned to the ground and reaction to his US Open win will have died down so he has a chance to take up where he left off at Oakmont. He finished 5th at this event in 2004.
Colin Montgomerie finally got back into the winner’s circle last week in Ireland and although he has not played this event all that well in recent years, he did win here in 1999. With the confidence he will have gained as a result of his win at the K Club he could well repeat that victory.
Ian Poulter has occasionally played very well at Loch Lomond and although his form in the last two months has been a little inconsistent, his recent 9th place at the French Open might be a sign of better things to come.
Sergio Garcia has not played since the US Open where he missed the cut but prior to that he was producing several good results. He finished 9th at this event last year and as one of the highest ranked players in this field he deserves consideration.
Retief Goosen was the winner in 2001 but despite the fact that he is a quality player he is sadly out of form at present. In order for him to be a consideration next week he will need to reverse an ordinary run at present.
One of the more interesting players in the field in 2007 is the brilliant Spaniard Pablo Martin who only recently turned professional after winning the Portugese Open earlier in the season as an amateur. His 30th place finish at the US Open was a further indication of his abilities and while it might be a little much to expect him to contend in this strong field he is destined for big things in his career.
Richard Green heads the Australians ahead of Peter O’Malley, Marcus Fraser, Brett Rumford, Wade Ormsby, Matthew Millar, Andrew Tampion and Terry Price.