Alfred Dunhill Links Championships preview

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Updated: September 28, 2011

The big hitters in golf are out for the next stop on the European Tour as Scotland hosts the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships on Thursday.

The tournament has a pro-am format with the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Ian Botham, Ruud Gullit, Tim Henman, Hugh Grant and Michael Douglas to name but a few, taking part alongside the professional golfers.

This tournament attracts the European Tour’s biggest names with five of the top ten golfers in the world taking part, including the top three; Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and US Open champion Rory McIlroy.

Martin Kaymer, who won this tournament last year, and Dustin Johnson are the other two top ten golfers taking part as well as US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, British Open champion Darren Clarke, last year’s Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and last year’s US Open champion Graeme McDowell.

The tournament is played over three courses; the Old Course at St Andrew’s, Carnoustie and Kingsbarn before finishing up on Sunday at St Andrew’s again.

168 professionals and 168 amateurs will take part with a pro and an amateur paired together as two competitions run at the same time; and individual tournament for the pros and a team tournament that takes the lower of the pro’s and his amateur’s score at each hole.

Padraig Harrington will also take part after he tested out his new swing at the Diamond Country Club for the Austrian Open over the weekend.

He got off to a bad start in that tournament, hitting a 75 in the first round and it looked like the new swing wasn’t helping his game but he salvaged a 72 to make the cut and eventually finished tied for 36th.

Shane Lowry, Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane make up the rest of the Irish contingent with only McGrane taking part in last week’s Austrian Open.

The Meath man will be hoping to improve on his performance that saw him card a 2-over followed by a 5-over par on the opening two rounds in Atzenbrugg and resulted in him missing the cut.

Paul McGinley gets back to the playing side of his game after captaining a Great Britain and Ireland team to victory over a continental Europe side in the Vivendi Seve Trophy two weeks ago.

Previously the Dublin man got back to his old days at the KLM Open in the Netherlands to score 7-under par and tie for 6th at the Hilversumsche Golf Club.

Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, Gareth Maybin and Paul Cutler will also take part and Cutler will be hoping to improve on last week’s performance after he failed to make the cut in Austria.

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