THE Scottish Open has been an eye-opening experience so far for Sandy Scott. “I had this perception that it would be totally different, but they are all human,” said the young, Nairn amateur. He might change his opinion should one of his playing partners three-putt the first this morning.

Scott, who came through the 36-hole qualifier at nearby Barassie on Sunday night, is soaking it all up as he savours the experience of his first European Tour event.

Given that he is surrounded by some of the world’s best golfers here in Ayrshire, you’d think he would be the centre of the family’s attention this week. The Scott clan are an active lot, though.

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“I think we are spread everywhere just now,” he reported. “My brother is playing in the Scottish under-16s Championship, my sister, Morven, is in the Scottish swimming set-up and my other sister is inter-railing around Europe. It’s hard to keep track on where everyone is.”

Scott, the former Scottish Boys’ Strokeplay champion, enjoyed a practice round in the company of Richie Ramsay, the Aberdonian who finished second in last weekend’s Irish Open.

“It’s good to see how much these guys progress through the years,” added the 19-year-old Scott. “Everyone is an amateur at one point and seeing what Richie has achieved shows what is possible.”

Another of the successful qualifiers from the shoot-out at Barassie on Sunday is Paul O’Hara.

The Motherwell man has established himself as a real force on the domestic Tartan Tour over the past couple of seasons and he has upped the ante in the current campaign.

A seven-shot win in the Northern Open was followed by an impressive victory in the PGA Professionals’ championship in Ireland.

Now, O’Hara, the former Scottish amateur No 1, is ready for his first European Tour appearance. It’s not a step into the unknown, mind you.

“I caddied for my brother loads of times in European Tour events,” he said of his older sibling, Steven, who will be repaying the favour this week as caddie.

O’Hara’s time on the third-tier circuits of the European scene proved to be ultimately unfulfilling and a change in direction, which saw him study for his PGA qualification programme, has certainly given his career a significant shot in the arm.

“I wouldn’t say it was a step back,” he said. “I’m just trying to make myself better and the PGA route was the only option I had. My game is definitely better and I’m mentally better too.”

With an overall prize pot of $7 million, the riches on offer at Dundonald would make a Sultan peer on with envious glances.

Making the cut here would be worth a five figure sum at the very least. “This week is a massive opportunity,” said O’Hara, who is trying not to think of the potential rewards up for grabs. “I don’t have many chances to play in a big tournament like this, so I want to make the most of it.

"This is exactly the kind of tournament you want to test yourself in. It's a chance to play against some of the very best.