Players to Watch at the Scottish Open
Following last year's edition at Gullane, the Scottish Open remains on the celebrated stretch of East Lothian linksland that is marketed as Scotland's Golf Coast. The Renaissance Club - a highly exclusive venue that has rarely opened its doors to public view - is the host for this week's event, a somewhat contentious selection, but an impressive field has been attracted with attention building towards the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
Since departing from Loch Lomond and rotating between various seaside courses across Caledonia, the Scottish Open has been a useful prelude for those hoping to refine their game ahead of the unique challenge of the game's oldest major, the most notable example being the back-to-back victories of Phil Mickelson at Castle Stuart and Muirfield in 2013.
Grasping for something similar, the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar are in Scotland, before taking the short journey across the Irish Sea to County Antrim in Northern Ireland.
But there are riches to be had in the Scottish Open, a Rolex Series event, which stands as one of the most prestigious titles on the European Tour. Looking beyond those marquee names, here are five players that could have a memorable week.
Having enjoyed a broken record of qualifying for major championships since the 2008 Masters, the likeable German's impressive streak is in danger of being broken. Finishing 2018 at 172nd in the world rankings, the past Ryder Cup stalwart is not presently in the field at The Open at Royal Portrush, narrowly missing out on a spot last week at Lahinch.
To ensure that he will make a return trip back across the Irish Sea, the two-time major winner needs to secure one of the three places available to players in the top ten. That's incentive enough to succeed at The Renaissance.
The 22-year-old from Oban has led a quiet resurgence for Scottish golfers on the European Tour - seven are inside the top 100 in the Race to Dubai - making headlines in his rookie season with runner-up finishes in the British Masters and Made in Denmark. Such has been the left-hander's form this year, he has been grouped alongside Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler this week.
Could he secure his maiden victory on home soil? Wouldn't that be a story.
Returning from injury to finish in a tie for fourth at the Irish Open, the popular Englishman was runner-up at Gullane last year, before carrying that into a breakthrough performance at Carnoustie. Hoping for similar results on the east coast of Scotland this time, the 28-year-old has spoken of his fondness for nearby Edinburgh, where he is staying this week. Positivity can go a long way in this game.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Former winner at Dundonald Links, the Spaniard was at the height of contention going into the back-nine at Lahinch, but a disappointing finish opened the door for his bulldozing compatriot Jon Rahm. Often considered not to have won the number of titles his prodigious ability reflects - the 35-year-old has returned to better form this summer, and has already shown his propensity for the seaside.
Scotland's top ranked golfer has posted a solid if not spectacular season to date on the PGA Tour - sitting 90th on the FedEx Cup - but he always relishes the opportunity of returning to his homeland. Last year's Irish Open champion and past winner of the WGC HSBC Champions in China, becoming the first Scottish winner of this event since Colin Montgomerie would surely rank as the career highlight for the 34-year-old.
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