Daniel Box
By Daniel Box

After the success of last week's Irish Open, which was won by Jon Rahm in emphatic fashion, the European Tour moves north up to Scotland, for the third Rolex Series event of the season at The Renaissance Club.

Scottish Open Tournament Preview Image Credit - European Tour Twitter

The tournament's position on the schedule, just a week before The Open, means that it has historically succeeded in attracting some of the biggest names in golf for some last-minute tuning up of their games. This year is no different, as the strength of field is boosted from the previous week by the addition of global stars such as Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.

Whilst the fact that there is over £7 million worth of prize money on offer may be tempting to some, the main reason for the star-studded lineup is that the links test at The Renaissance will provide a perfect warm-up for next week at Royal Portrush, and also giving those golfers based abroad more time to acclimatise to the conditions of a British summer.

Last Year

Last year's Scottish Open saw 1000/1 longshot Brandon Stone storm to the title after a quite incredible final round of 60 at nearby Gullane, narrowly missing a putt on the final green for what would have been the European Tour's first ever 59.

Scottish Open Tournament Preview Image Credit - Scottish Open Twitter

Stone eventually ran out as a four-stroke winner over Eddie Pepperell in second place, with Rickie Fowler, Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton and Justin Rose all featuring in the Top 10.

The Course

Though The Renaissance Club has only been in existence for just over a decade, it has already rightfully taken its place among the best courses on Scotland's Golf Coast in East Lothian, and has been deemed worthy of a chance to host Scotland's national open for the first time this week.

Scottish Open Tournament Preview Image Credit - Scottish Open Twitter Website

You'd have to be pretty brave to decide, when picking a spot for a new golf course, to choose a site which has Muirfield, Gullane and North Berwick as immediate neighbours. That's what happened however, and acclaimed architect Tom Doak was invited to design his first Scottish golf course.

The course has already featured a number of tweaks and changes during it's short life so far, including a land-swap with Muirfield, to create a number of incredible new holes on the lower level near the water.

Scottish Open Tournament Preview Image Credit - Scottish Open Twitter Website

Whilst the Renaissance is undoubtedly a links course it also has quite a unique style, with surprising levels of undulation and large wooded areas surrounding some holes.

Scottish Open Tournament Preview Image Credit - Scottish Open Twitter Website

It will be tough too. Known as a course where driving accuracy comes at a premium, the fairways have been brought in to about half the width that they were originally in order to really test the players this week, with several of the par 4s stretching towards the 500-yard mark.

The Field

Last week there was plenty of talk about how it was a shame that there weren't more top-class players in the field at Lahinch as on paper it seemed to be perfect preparation for The Open, and a chance to play a unique golf course with a very generous prize fund.

There are no such complaints this week. Despite skipping his national open, Rory McIlroy will tee it up this week in Scotland as he prefers to get his practice in by playing the week before he goes for the Claret Jug, which would obviously have been a tough decision for him.

Scottish Open Tournament Preview Image Credit - TaylorMade Twitter

Rory seems to have regained some of his mojo this year and has already notched up two wins, proving that when he gets it right he's still the man to beat on any stage in world golf. However he is nearing five full years without a major victory and so a good week this week will be beneficial to his confidence heading to Portrush.

A number of Americans have quite sensibly decided to arrive in the UK a little earlier too, giving themselves chance to adjust to the time change and readjust into 'links mode' ahead of the next two weeks. 2015 Champion Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar, who both have excellent records on this course type, will no doubt be among the favourites both this week and next, whilst WGC Match Play winner Kevin Kisner is vastly underrated and World Number Nine Justin Thomas needs to find some form in his comeback from injury.

Scottish Open Tournament Preview Image Credit - Puma Golf Twitter

In terms of the British challenge, the talented fivesome of Wallace, Fitzpatrick, Pepperrell, Poulter and Hatton lead the way with the likes of Russell Knox, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell all ones to watch this week too. Rafa Cabrera Bello, who won this event in 2017, will be looking to continue on the good form he showed last week when holding the lead on the back nine of Sunday's final round.

Our Betting Tips

The Favourite - Eddie Pepperell @ 33/1

Whilst the likes of Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler are shortest with the bookies, 33/1 seems a generous price for someone of Pepperell's quality. The Englishman returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines at the Irish Open and was right in the mix, eventually finishing up in T4.

He also finished in second place during last year's Scottish Open before a T6 place at Carnoustie the following week, proving that he is more than adept in links conditions and ready to challenge for a big title again.

The Outsider - Kevin Kisner E/W @ 50/1

Kisner is a gritty character who seems to enjoy tough conditions where battling to grind out a good score is key, which perhaps explains why he is one being tipped for a good finish this week. The 2019 WGC Match Play winner finished in T2 at last year's Open, at one time holding the lead at a firm and fiery Carnoustie.

Kisner has made his last four cuts, including a T15 at the Travelers Championship, and appears to have been enjoyed some of the area's other golfing hotspots with the help of friend Justin Thomas:

The Longshot - Robert Macintyre E/W @ 90/1

Rounding out this week's tips is rising star Robert MacIntyre, who continues to impress at the age of just 22 and is bound to receive plenty of support from his home crowd. Having only made it onto the European Tour for the first time this season there is no previous form from this event, but the left-hander came extremely close to winning the British Masters at Hillside earlier this year with a T2 finish.

MacIntyre has showed impressive consistency too with only two missed cuts this season, and comes off the back of a solid week at the Irish Open last week where he opened with rounds of 66 and 69 before cooling over the weekend.

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