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Pros and amateurs feast on three main courses

Pros and amateurs feast on three main courses

More than 200 golfers enjoyed superb conditions as they teed up to play three of Scotland’s most renowned links courses over three days in the annual Tomatin Single Malt Pro-Am.

The event, held from 30 September to 2 October at Castle Stuart Golf Links, The Nairn Golf Club and Royal Dornoch Golf Club, attracted 216 players in 54 teams who were vying for a share of the £45,725 prize fund.

Stephen Gray, based at Hayston in East Dunbartsonshire, won the professional event, part of the Tartan Tour, and the £6,500 first prize. His 11-under par score of 203 comprised a 67 at Royal Dornoch, 68 at Castle Stuart and 68 at Nairn.

That was two better than Aberdonian Greg McBain (Gamola Golf) who recovered from a six-over 76 at Royal Dornoch to shoot 65 at Castle Stuart and 64 at Nairn to finish on 205 and collected £5,000.

Former PGA champion Andrew Oldcorn (Kings Acre) and Simon Lilly (Wellingborough) tied for third place on 207 and earned £3,700 apiece.

Already a number of the teams have booked for next year’s event which will be held from 30 September – 2 October 2014, just a few days after the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

The prestigious contest is estimated to generate about £200,000 for the Highland economy.

It is open to teams from anywhere in the world consisting of three amateurs (ladies or gentlemen) plus a professional of their choice. Teams that do not include a pro are allocated a leading player from the Professional Golfers’ Association Scotland Order of Merit.

Castle Stuart Golf Links has hosted the Scottish Open for the last three years and this year attracted record crowds as the trophy was won by Phil Mickelson who has lavished praise on the course.

Nairn Golf Club, which hosted the Walker Cup in 1999 and the Curtis Cup in 2012, will also be home to the 2016 Home Internationals competition.

Royal Dornoch’s Championship course is ranked 14 in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 and is a favourite of Major winners such as Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Craig Stadler and Greg Norman.

The three clubs are part of the Highland Golf Links partnership which also includes the Kingsmills Hotel and Culloden House Hotel, Inverness; the Royal Golf Hotel and Links House, at Royal Dornoch; and the Golf View Hotel in Nairn to promote destination breaks.

The partnership offers attractive packages for visiting golfers to enjoy the finest links golf and luxury accommodation while exploring a unique and beautiful part of Scotland.

Fraser Cromarty, sales and marketing director at Castle Stuart Links and chairman of Highland Golf Links, said: “This year’s event was another great success. We were blessed with some fantastic weather and some wonderful scoring.

“The Tomatin Single Malt Pro-Am is a unique event and a major date in the golfing calendar which is shown in the number of players who have already booked for next year.”