A MOVE has been launched to host the Scottish Open golf tournament at Dundonald Links near Irvine.

North Ayrshire Council is backing a bid to attract the tournament to the course within the next three years and hopes to promote the area to millions of TV viewers around the world.

The council's cabinet has agreed to support an approach by course owners Loch Lomond Golf Club to the European Tour, organisers of the prestigious event.

And councillors are confident that a tournament of this stature will give the profile of North Ayrshire a huge lift.

Two locations have yet to be decided as Scottish Open ­venues from now until 2017 - one in the east and one in the West of Scotland

Loch Lomond Golf Club has applied to host the event in ­Irvine and will spend up to £2million on a new clubhouse if the go-ahead is given.

The club's home course in West Dunbartonshire has ­already been home to the tournament for the 15 years prior to 2010.

Since then it has been held at Castle Stuart Gold Links in Inverness.

Councillor Marie Burns, the council's member for economic development and regeneration, said: "This is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase North Ayrshire.

"I can think of no better way of achieving our strategy of raising the profile of the area than by securing four days' of continual TV coverage and acres of newspaper space."

The council has agreed to contribute up to £150,000 towards the cost of staging the event, together with management and promotional support.

A previous Scottish Open at Castle Stuart attracted more than 20,000 spectators a day and injected £3.8m into the Highlands economy.

TV pictures from the Inverness fairways were beamed into an estimated 500 million households worldwide.

Councillors at North Ayrshire Council hope a Scottish Open at Dundonald would have a similarly positive impact on the area.