Paul Lawrie has hailed the “huge boost” of a Scottish Open place for the winner of his Tartan Pro Tour order of merit.
The final four events of Lawrie’s new tour – the Royal Dornoch Masters, Pollok Open, St Andrews Classic and Rowallan Castle Championship – will be played this month.
The Tartan Pro Tour has provided vital tournament golf opportunities for many male and female Scottish professionals.
It has received a further boost with news that the winner of the order of merit will receive a place in October’s Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club and the leading female player will earn a spot in next year’s Ladies Scottish Open.
Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, said: “It’s a huge boost and all the boys are talking about that because a game in the Scottish Open is a huge thing for these guys with the level they’re at.
“It’s a great incentive for whoever wins the order of merit to get a game in the Scottish Open against some top players and learn and progress your career that little bit more.
“The ladies too will get a game in the Ladies Scottish Open next year as well.
“It’s really good of Aberdeen Standard Investments to let us have that, they’re growing the game as much as anyone at the moment and putting in a lot of money, so all credit to them.”
The second Tartan Pro Tour event, the Scottish Par 3 Championship, was played at Lawrie’s golf centre at the weekend, having initially been postponed on August 8 and 9 due to the local lockdown in Aberdeen.
The 51-year-old added: “We were pleased to get the event on, obviously with the lockdown we didn’t have any option but to postpone it.
“Of the six events, we were the only venue that could probably have done it at short notice because we own it and we could decide what happened, so we were lucky there.
“Everyone worked so hard to pull out the stops to make sure it happened so it was good to get the event on.”
The cancellation of this year’s EuroPro Tour in March because of the pandemic prompted Lawrie to come up with his series.
He said: “It’s a development tour, but we cater for all ages, both male and female, and next year hopefully we’ve got some plans to get a little bigger and a little better with more events.
“I’m enjoying it and it’s what was required. Scotland’s the home of golf so we should have our own domestic circuit which we’ve got.
“As soon as they cancelled the EuroPro Tour for the whole year that meant there were a load of guys with no way of earning money this year.
“That was the whole motivation of it, but I had been thinking about it for a wee while.
“EuroPro is a strong tour, but I think in the next couple of years I think we can get big enough that we can go up against them and try to get some players playing our tour a bit more.
“There’s no point in sitting back – growing the game is what you’re told to do as a PGA pro so that’s the idea and you kick on.”
Locke reckons he has chance of reaching Scottish Open
Stonehaven’s Sam Locke is setting his sights on a Scottish Open spot.
The 22-year-old is competing in the Tartan Pro Tour set-up by Paul Lawrie.
Locke won the first tournament, the Carnoustie Challenge, and finished tied seventh in the Scottish Par 3 Championship at the weekend.
To come this month is the Royal Dornoch Masters, Pollok Open, St Andrews Classic and Rowallan Castle Championship, with the winner of the order of merit gaining entry to October’s Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club.
Locke, who is sitting third in the Tartan Pro Tour order of merit behind Chris Robb and John Henry, said: “It’s great to just have the opportunity to play. The Aberdeen lockdown meant the Par 3 Championship had to be delayed.
“But it was great we could play it and I’m looking forward to the next four events.
“I’ll be playing in all of them and for me any opportunity to play is great.
“The courses we’ll be playing are very good and it was nice to win the first event.
“Hopefully I can keep playing solid and my goal is to win the order of merit, so hopefully I can do that.
“I’ve got a chance, but there are a lot of good players playing in the events, so you need to play good golf.
“I’ll just keep working hard and see what I can do.
“The Scottish Open place is a big carrot for everyone and I’d love to tee it up there, but there is a lot of hard work to do before getting there.
“But I believe if I put in the hard work then I’ve got a pretty good chance of getting there.”