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Scotland Readies for Star-Studded Golf Event

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2004 Dunhill Links ChampionshipComing off a week in which all of Europe battled each other in a team format for the Seve Trophy, the European Tour gets back to a little normalcy this week with the playing of the Dunhill Links Championships.
 
But that is where the normalcy ends, as the event plays to a pro-am format with many of Europe's top entertainment and sports celebrities taking part.
 
Colin Montgomerie
A win in Scotland could give Colin Montgomerie an outside shot of another top finish in the Order of Merit race.
But undoubtedly the main draw is with the likes of Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.
 
Both Harrington and Westwood are past champions.
 
Though the event is just in its fifth year, it is fast becoming one of the premiere tournaments on the European Tour schedule.
 
Patterned much like the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the Dunhill Links Championship showcases not one, but three of Scotland's finest courses.
 
Players compete on the Old Course at St. Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the Kingsbarns Golf Links. They will play each course once over the first three days, before a 54-hole cut is made. The remaining 70 players and ties play the Old Course in the final round.
 
With $795,860 going to the winner and the season-ending Volvo Masters just a month away, players are jockeying for position as they head down the backstretch. The top 60 players on the money list qualify for the Volvo Masters.
 
Speaking of the money list, Montgomerie, who enjoyed a seven year reign atop the Order of Merit list back in the late 90s, is quietly within striking distance of reaching that mountain top once again. He is approximately $948,000 behind U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell and a win here in his back yard would put him neck and neck with the New Zealander.
 
Scotlands Stephen Gallacher, who defeated Northern Irelands Graeme McDowell with a birdie at the first extra play-off hole, will return to his homeland to defend his title.
 
The field is comprised of 168 teams of one professional and one. Two competitions are played concurrently ' professional individual and team. The team score will be the best net score of the two players at each hole. After 54 holes the field reduces to the leading 60 professionals and ties plus the 20 leading teams, all of whom play the final round over the Old Course at St Andrews.
 
The Golf Channel will air all four rounds live beginning Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
 
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