Open Championship qualifying is returning to four Fife golf courses after an eight-year gap next July.
The Fairmont St Andrews Torrance course, Ladybank, Lundin Links and Scotscraig have been chosen by the R&A and European Senior Tour to host final qualifying events for The Senior Open which is being played at the Old Course, St Andrews for the first time.
The four courses were among the last venues to host Final Qualifying for the Open Championship proper in 2010, before a rescheduling of qualifying away from the week of the championship meant the R&A no longer required local courses close to the host venue.
Final qualifying for next year’s Open at Carnoustie will be staged at venues across the UK – The Renaissance Club in East Lothian is the Scottish leg – but the day after the Claret Jug is presented at the Angus course qualifying for the Senior Open will be staged, with it estimated more than 400 competitors taking part.
This year 398 hopefuls teed it up in Monday qualifying for just 42 places in the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl, and the organisers expect demand for spots to be significantly greater for a championship staged at the Home of Golf.
Ladybank and Lundin hosted Open final qualifying for three decades until the arrangement ended. Lundin, home club of the five-time open champion James Braid, is celebrating its 150th anniversary next year.
Scotscraig, the 13th oldest golf club in the world, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, hosted FQs for six Opens between 1984 and 2010. The Fairmont Torrance course, previously a host of the Scottish Senior Open, was an FQ course in 2010.
Bernhard Langer, who won the Senior Open for a third time two weeks ago – equalling the record of Gary Player and Tom Watson – is looking forward to his fortnight in July next year.
“These will be two very special weeks,” said the 57-year-old German. “Firstly I can play another Open at Carnoustie, a course that I love and where I won my first Senior Open in 2010.
“Then I can look forward to a week in St Andrews to defend my title. It’s one of my favourite places in the world and a fantastic place to play golf with all the history and tradition there.”