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Top names to appear at dunhill links championship

Europe's leading golf stars will join some of the most enthusiastic and well-known amateur golfers in the world for the dunhill links championship to be held at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns next week.

With US$5 million in prize money and Ryder Cup points at stake, the Scottish galleries will be in full voice as they watch Stephen Gallacher to see if he can defend the title which he won last year in a dramatic play-off with Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell. Ireland's Padraig Harrington, winner in 2002, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie, winner in 2001, and England's Lee Westwood, winner in 2003, Ian Poulter and David Howell will all be battling for one of the biggest prizes on the European Tour. The overseas challenge is led by Denmark's Thomas Björn and Australia's Nick O'Hern.

Harrington, Clarke, Montgomerie and Westwood will share centre stage with personalities from the world of entertainment including Michael Douglas, Kyle MacLachlan, Jodie Kidd and Tico Torres - a mix which gives the dunhill links championship its unique character.

Also present will be a who's who of sports stars for whom golf is a passion, including past and present Ashes heroes Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss, Ian Botham and Steve Waugh, tennis ace Boris Becker, soccer greats Sir Bobby Charlton and Johan Cruyff, Olympic champions Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent and Jonathan Edwards, Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell and downhill ski legend Franz Klammer.

The professionals in the field include:

Thomas Björn            Paul Lawrie            Costantino Rocca    
Paul Casey            Sandy Lyle             Charl Schwartzel
Darren Clarke            Graeme McDowell         Sam Torrance
Brian Davis            Paul McGinley            Jean Van De Velde
Darren Fichardt         Colin Montgomerie        Lee Westwood
David Frost            Nick O'Hern            Ian Woosnam
Stephen Gallacher        Peter O'Malley
Padraig Harrington         Ian Poulter
David Howell             

Among the amateurs who will be playing are:

Boris Becker            Don Felder            Dan Quayle
Ian Botham            Sean Fitzpatrick        Sir Steve Redgrave
Schalk Burger            Ruud Gullit             Peter Schmeichel
Sir Bobby Charlton        Alan Hansen            Andrew Strauss
Johan Cruyff            Jodie Kidd            Daniel Torrance
Kenny Dalglish         Franz Klammer         Tico Torres
Kapil Dev            Kyle MacLachlan         Michael Vaughan
Lee Dixon            Nigel Mansell            Steve Waugh
Michael Douglas         Mark Nicholas            Keith Wood
Morné du Plessis        Sir Matthew Pinsent            
Jonathan Edwards                        

The dunhill links championship, conceived as a celebration of links golf, will be played over three of the world's best known and respected links courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links from September 29-October 2.

168 teams of one professional and one amateur are to contest the first three rounds, with one round being played at each of the three links courses in rotation. Two competitions are played concurrently - professional individual and team.

The team score will be the best net score of the two players at each hole. After 54 holes the field reduces to the leading 60 professionals and ties plus the 20 leading teams, all of whom play the final round over the Old Course at St Andrews.

Admission to the dunhill links championship is complimentary on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the tournament. A ticket price of £15 (concessionary £10) will be charged for Sunday. Under 16s and students are free. Parking is free. A free bus service will operate between courses. Tickets are available through the ticket hotline on 0870 010 9021 or at the entrance gates on the day.

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