In 2017, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open came to Dundonald Links. A stellar international field including Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed were all playing for the coveted prize.
A fantastic four days of golf began on the Ayrshire coast, that saw Mikko Ilonen fire a stunning opening 65 to take a two-shot lead. It was an exciting leaderboard too, with the then World Number ten Rickie Fowler in a group of six players at five under par, alongside fellow American Paul Peterson, three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, Callum Shinkwin, and Australian Andrew Dodt.
“ It’s fun to play, a lot of variety on tee shots, not just drivers on every hole. I like being able to use my imagination out here. ”Rickie Fowler
Day two saw 15-time winner Padraig Harrington take a share of the lead into the weekend after kicking off his Friday two shots off the lead.
As Saturday came, so did the traditional Ayrshire weather, with strong wind and rain providing a real challenge for the field. A one under par 71 for Ian Poulter was enough to take him to the top of the leaderboard, which he shared with Callum Shinkwin and Andrew Dodt.
As the final day came, we were treated to a fine display from Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, who came from behind to claim the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title in stunning fashion.
Cabrera Bello had started the day four shots behind the leading group of Shinkwin, Ian Poulter and Andrew Dodt, but surged through the field on Sunday, carding eight birdies en route to a course record 64, to sit just one shot behind Shinkwin at 13 under par. He then watched anxiously on TV as the Englishman suffered a late slip, bogeying the 18th to set up the sudden-death shoot-out.
Both players hit fine drives at the first extra hole, but after Shinkwin’s approach found an awkward, downhill lie by the greenside bunker, Cabrera Bello hit a superb approach shot into the par-five from 275 yards, and was able to two-putt to victory to claim his third European Tour title.
Shinkwin was followed by Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who came third on 10 under par and Dodt, who was two further back at eight under alongside Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, Matt Kuchar of the USA, Englishman Anthony Wall and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox.