DEAN ROBERTSON has insisted amateur protégé Jack McDonald will emerge from the Scottish Open a far stronger player.
McDonald crashed to a final-round 80 at Castle Stuart yesterday as high winds and heavy rain sent scores soaring. The University of Stirling maths student's poor closing effort meant he finished on level par overall in the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event.
But the 19-year-old played alongside Ernie Els and enjoyed rubbing shoulders with the three-time Major winner. And former European Tour winner Robertson, who coaches the Kilmarnock Barassie kid, reckons he will benefit enormously from the event.
The Paisley man, who also caddied for his pupil in the Highlands, said: "He will reflect on yesterday and come back with a mental strength he didn't have before, and a calm about him. The tournaments in front of him – the Scottish Amateur, the European Individual – these will be regular tournaments now for him.
"There will be a nervousness, yeah, but he'll look forward to them, focused on putting his best foot forward and not being afraid of anyone.
"He works hard for this and this will be a massive lift for his team-mates, for the whole programme at Stirling University. You'll need a bag of lemons to wipe the smile off his face."
McDonald, who was making his Tour debut, said: "It was a great day. Playing with Ernie was phenomenal. We chatted a bit about golf and he told me he had watched me in the Amateur Championship on TV which was pretty good to hear. I couldn't plan a better week. I was a wee bit disappointed with an 80, but I suppose it's just all part of the learning experience."
Bellshill's Steven O'Hara, who slumped to a three-over-par 75 in his final round, bemoaned his poor putting, and the effect it will have on his Open debut at Royal Lytham this week.
The 31-year-old said: "I'm delighted to be playing in The Open but, putting like this, I've no chance of doing well. That's a bit disappointing. Unless I can find something between now and Thursday, it's a waste of time, to be honest. I think it's all in the mind, though, so I need to change my attitude."