Open Championship: Ernie Els honing links game ahead of defence at Muirfield

Last Updated: 11/07/13 8:39pm

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Ernie Els: Hoping to repeat his 2002 Open win at Muirfield next week

Ernie Els: Hoping to repeat his 2002 Open win at Muirfield next week

Sky Bet

Open champion Ernie Els says playing the links course at Castle Stuart will stand him in good stead for Muirfield next week.

The South African is not only the current Open champion, he was also the winner of the Claret Jug when Muirfield last played host in 2002.

Els admits there are obvious differences between the two courses but believes playing in this week's Scottish Open is the ideal way to get himself sharp for his title defence.

Of Castle Stuart, he said: "Although, it's a little wider than what we're going to have at Muirfield, you're still getting shot values that you're going to have next week.

Ernie Els says playing the links course at Castle Stuart this weekend, will stand him in good stead for Muirfield next week.

"You're going to have to play some four-irons, down, you're going to have to shape some shots, you're going to see a bit of bounce.

"That's what I like."

Henrik Stenson agrees that the Scottish Open provides an excellent warm-up.

"It's definitely important to get a number of days, either competitive rounds or practice rounds, at a links course because it is a bit of an adjustment to make from target golf, soft conditions, to doing well at The Open."

Both Els last year and Darren Clarke in 2011 played the Scottish Open the week before winning the Claret Jug - something not lost on Stenson.

The Swede said: "If the winner's been in the field the last two years it's a good thing we're here then!"

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