FOR more than 350 years there has been golf played on the Gullane links and it is still one of the most admired courses in the world.
Since 1884 the Gullane No.1 has hosted national and international event and is the venue for this week's Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Openwhich is the fifth Rolex Series event of the season.
Gullane has also hosted Local Final Qualifying events for the Open Championship at nearby Muirfield. When the Scottish Open was last held here in 2015 it was won by Rickie Fowler.
My problem this week is whether to back players I fancy for The Open next week or accept they may be happy to hone their games.
Only Phil Mickelson has won the Scottish Open and The Open in consecutive weeks so the odds are against it.
- COURSE: Gullane Golf Course, East Lothian, 7133 yards: Par 70.
Over the past few years Hatton's form on links courses has been really solid. He has won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship twice (2016, 2017) over three of the best links courses in the world (St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns).
In 2015 he was fifth in the Paul Lawrie Matchplay, T22 in the Scottish Open and a T4 in the Irish Open. The following year a T5 at the Irish, 2nd in the Scottish, T5 in the Open and won the Alfred Dunhill.
He retained the Alfred Dunhill the following year but otherwise was not a good links season. In 2016 Hatton had a poor links season apart from retaining his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title.
His T6 in the US Open at Shinnicock Hills this year was a superb result and to be honest there is no reason I can see to ignore him for Gullane.
When it’s Ryder Cup year Ian Poulter’s name always come to the fore. He was struggling early in the season and was missing out on a pass to The Masters.
Then he had a T5 at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play and in the last tournament before The Masters, the Houston Open, he wins in a play-off. He is certainly a battler and when the chips are down seems to get better.
Last year he finished T14 in The Open and T9 in the Scottish Open has two top-two finishes in The Open. In nine starts since March Poults has finished outside the top 25 only once. He’ll be desperate to catch the eye of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and I expect a good showing from him this week.
Three times Matt Kuchar has played in the Scottish Open and has yet to finish outside the top 10. The last time it was played at Gullane and Kooch was beaten when Rickie Fowler birdied the last.
He has also two top-10 finishes in The Open, one of which was a second last year at Royal Birkdale. He must have been thinking the Claret Jug was his when Jordan Spieth decided to take a detour into the car park at the 13th.
However, we all know how good Spieth is and a birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie finish saw the young American snatch the Jug away from Kuchar and win by three shots. I like Kooch’s demeanour on the course and and he seems to enjoy links golf so a win here isn’t out of the question.
With four top 10s this season Sullivan is having a good year so far. Now all he needs is to get that elusive win. I find it hard to believe he hasn’t won since 2015 when he was victorious three times.
He has two top-10 finishes in the Scottish Open in the last two years and although he hasn’t got a great links record it isn’t bad either and he can certainly can do well here. He’s a gutsy player and I’m going to keep faith with the 31-year-old.
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