The final European tour tournament before the Open Championship, the Barclays Scottish Open tees off on Thursday with a stellar cast vying for the 3 million in prize money on offer
The World’s top two players Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will battle it out for the 500,000 pound top prize as well as the World number one spot.
The last time these two played at the same event on the European tour, Donald edged Westwood in a playoff at the BMW PGA Championship.
This time round Westwood, who won this tournament in 1998, will be looking for revenge and the perfect boost heading into the 140th Open Championship next week.
The appearance of Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson means that five of the World’s top 10 are in action in the Castle Stuart Golf Links.
Scotland represents a happy hunting ground for Edoardo Molinari with the Italian’s only two European tour victory both coming in Scotland.
Molinari, who claimed the Scottish open last year ahead of Darren Clarke also added the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles a month later.
There will be a strong Irish contingent in Inverness with Peter Lawrie, Shane Lowry, McDowell, Gareth Maybin, Michael Hoey, Clarke and Paul McGinley all involved.
Lawrie was the best of the Irish at last week’s French open, the Dubliner tying for 21st place on with a four round total of 2 over.
For McGinley meanwhile this weekend will be an emotional one as the former Ryder cup star becomes only the 20th golfer to make 500 European tour appearances.
McGinley, who finished third in the 2001 tournament, admitted it was a proud occasion “I’ve always enjoyed playing in the Scottish Open which historically is one of our biggest events,” said the 44 year old. “I’ve heard a lot about the new course at Castle Stuart and I’m very much looking forward to playing there.”
McGinley still has another 206 tournaments to go before he can topple Sam Torrance’s record.
Castle Stuart Golf Links is the 7th course to host the Scottish open since its inception in 1972 and follows in the footsteps of Downfield, St Andrews, Haggs Castle, The Gleneagles Hotel, Carnoustie and Loch Lomond, which staged the tournament from 1996 to 2010.
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.