THERE are high hopes that Scotland’s national golf tournament could return to East Lothian for a fifth consecutive year.

The abrdn Scottish Open was played at The Renaissance Club from Thursday to Sunday last week.

Each day, 3,500 spectators were allowed in to see some of the world’s top golfers, including Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.

On Sunday evening, following torrential rain, Min Woo Lee clinched victory after a play-off with Thomas Detry and Matt Fitzpatrick.

A spokesperson for the European Tour said an update about future plans for the Scottish Open would be made in due course.

Rory Colville, the European Tour’s championship director of the abrdn Scottish Open, said: “We were delighted to return to The Renaissance Club for the abrdn Scottish Open and to welcome a limited number of fans back on-site.

“The atmosphere for players and spectators alike was fantastic and we would like to thank our partners abrdn, VisitScotland and Rolex for their support in staging this world-class event on Scotland’s Golf Coast.”

The Renaissance Club has held the tournament since 2019, with Gullane hosting it the year prior.

Jerry Sarvadi, CEO of The Renaissance Club, said: “We are delighted how well the event went – a spectacular four days of golf.

“It was great to have fans back watching live golf and welcome a truly world-class field.

“The weather certainly played its part, with the rain delay on Sunday only adding to the drama.”

On the tournament’s future, he added: “The Renaissance Club has thoroughly enjoyed our multi- year relationship with the European Tour. The 2021 event was superb.

“We are looking forward to a bright future in the further development of that relationship.”

Malcolm Duck, from East Lothian golf tourism body Scotland’s Golf Coast, felt the tournament had gone “really, really well”, with players welcoming the continuing improvements to the course.

Golfing attention now turns to the fourth Major of the year – The Open, which got under way at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent on Thursday.

Mr Duck, owner of Duck’s Inn at Aberlady, said: “[The Scottish Open] is the warm-up to The Open and you want to set it up tough but not too tough.

“Players want a warm-up and to be tested but they do not want to be destroyed. They want a confidence-builder for it but still a test.”

Mr Duck echoed that the European Tour had yet to confirm the location of next year’s tournament.

However, he was hopeful that The Renaissance Club could be welcoming some of the top golfers – and more spectators – in 2022.

He was “hopeful” and said: “I think it has not been announced but I have not heard of anything else in the pipeline.”

The economic boost from the tournament, which was screened live, is yet to be calculated by East Lothian Council, but the local authority hopes it will help attract people to the area in the future.

A spokesman for the council told the Courier: “Although fewer spectators could be admitted to the event on this occasion, this was a tremendous opportunity to showcase Scotland’s Golf Coast.

“While it is too early to say what the exact economic benefit was from this year’s event, we do anticipate there will have been a boost in terms of visitor spend from those in attendance and folk involved in the set-up of the competition and the players’ entourages.

“We also hope to benefit from the superb television coverage which will encourage the booking of golfing breaks to East Lothian, Scotland’s Golf Coast, mainly from the UK market this year but the global market beyond that.”