8am Round-Up: Ewen Ferguson aims to grab Portugal Open chance

Bearsden 20-year-old Ewen Ferguson is among 10 Scots in the Open de Portugal line-up this week. Picture: Kevin Kirk
Bearsden 20-year-old Ewen Ferguson is among 10 Scots in the Open de Portugal line-up this week. Picture: Kevin Kirk
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Rookie professional Ewen Ferguson is relishing an opportunity to lock horns with major champions and Ryder Cup players in the Open de Portugal, which got underway this morning.

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie and Masters winner Mike Weir are in the field at Morgado Golf Resort, as is Oliver Wilson, who played in the 2008 Ryder Cup.

In terms of experience, Ferguson is not even close to being in their league, having only turned professional towards the end of last season.

However, the 20-year-old from Bearsden can’t wait to test himself in an event that is co-sanctioned between the European Tour and the Challenge Tour.

“It’s a chance to try and make a name for yourself and I’ll certainly be giving it my best shot,” said Ferguson, who is out in one of the last matches in the opening round.

He joins Lawrie, as well as eight other Scots, in the field and is aiming to use this week to show that he’s become a bit more organised since he started out on his new career.

“One question I was asked recently was about the best piece of advice I’ve received since I turned professional and that is probably trying to be organised,” added the former Walker Cup player.

“I’m trying to be a bit more on the ball with things. Sometimes I tend to forget things, so I’m trying to write things down in a diary.”

Also bidding to land a chunk of a €500,000 prize fund are David Drysdale, Duncan Stewart, Scott Henry, Craig Lee, Grant Forrest, Ross Kellett, Bradley Neil and David Law.

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The PGA Tour’s new 10-year deal with FedEx to sponsor the circuit’s season-long points battle is believed to includes a “category exclusivity clause”.

It is being claimed the the clause will keep players from participating in the season-long race if they have endorsement deals with one of FedEx’s competitors.

“All I’m going to say on that front is when you’re in business with someone for 30 years, and you’re about to commit to 10 more, you do some things to protect each other on a long-term basis,” said the Tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan.

“That’s what we’ve done in this agreement, and our players know that; our players understand it; our players think so highly of FedEx and what they’ve meant to them in terms of playing financial opportunities. So we do everything we can to protect our partners.”

Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen both have endorsement deals with UPS but have been “grandfathered” and, therefore, will not be impacted.

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Wallace Booth and Sean Lawrie are top Scots after the first round of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Great National Hotels Irish Masters at Ballkisteen.

They shot matching rounds of 68, four-under-par, to sit joint-ninth, three shots behind James Ruth as the Englishman set the pace in the 54-hole event.

On a good opening day for the Scots, Craig Lawrie, Neil Henderson and John Henry all opened with 69s to sit inside the top 20.

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Banchory man James Byrne finished in a share of third in the MENA Tour’s Mountain Creek Open in Thailand, where Frenchman Lionel Weber completed a wire-to-wire win.

Singapore-based Byrne shot rounds of 72-68-70 for a six-under-par total in his second successive start on the third-tier circuit.

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Drumoig’s Connor Syme has been drawn with Stewart Hagestad, the low amateur in this year’s Masters, in the opening two rounds of the Irish Open Stroke-Play Championship at Royal County Down.

Making up a star-studded group over the next two days is home player and defending champion Colm Campbell.

Other Scots in the field include Craig Howie, Liam Johnson, Euan McIntosh and Craig Ross.