8am Round-Up: LPGA Tour dream still alive for Scottish trio

Saunton in Devon is staging this week's PGA Play-Offs featuring four Scots. Picture: Getty Images

Saunton in Devon is staging this week's PGA Play-Offs featuring four Scots. Picture: Getty Images

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Twelve months after falling at the final stage in the US-based circuit’s Qualifying School, Scottish trio Gemma Dryburgh, Kylie Walker and Sally Watson have all set up another chance to join Catriona Matthew on the LPGA Tour.

Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen has done likewise after the quartet all survived the 72-hole second stage in the gruelling process at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Florida.

Allen, who recently claimed her second win of the season on the Ladies European Tour, finished tied 12th in an event won by Norwegian Marianna Skarpnord, with Dryburgh and Walker also progressing comfortably in joint-19th.

It was a bit tighter in the end than Watson would have liked but, nonetheless, she progressed, too, in a tie for 67th in an event that saw 193 players set out bidding to keep alive their LPGA Tour dreams.

The quartet now move forward to the final stage, which takes place at Daytona Beach in Florida from 30 November-4 December, when the top 20 will secure cards next season on the leading circuit in women’s golf.

Dryburgh, Watson and Walker all bowed out before the fifth and final round at that stage last year, the latter being on course to secure a conditional card before running up a damaging 82 in the fourth round.

Others still in the card chase this time around include English amateur Bronte Law, who finished second behind Skarpnord, LET professional Mel Reid and Irish amateur Leona Maguire.

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Another trio of Scots - Clarke Lutton, Jack McDonald and Danny Kay - shot matching two-under-par 70s to sit four shots off the lead, held by Dutchman Fernand Osther, after the opening round of the MENA Tour’s Ghala Open in Oman.

McDonald, who finished joint-sixth in last week’s event in Kuwait, and Kay are both using the third-tier circuit to prepare for the upcoming second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain.

Brothers Paul and Jack Doherty, the other Scots in the field in Muscat, carded 74 and 75 respectively.

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Two-time winner Greig Hutcheon, with a level-par 71 to sit two shots off the lead, fared best of the four Scots in the first round of the PGA Play-Offs at Saunton in Devon.

Hutcheon, who is attached to Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo, was three-under after 10 before dropping his first shot of the day at the 11th then also taking bogeys at the 17th and 18th.

Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) had a 73, Anglo-Scot Ian Campbell (Cheshunt Park) signed for a 74 and Paul O’Hara (North Lanarkshire Leisure) carded a 76.

English duo Matt Cort and Paul Streeter, as well as Irishman Colm Moriarty, shared the lead after the opening day on 69.

Some European Tour starts, including at the BMW PGA Championship and British Masters, are up for grabs while top three will also qualify for the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team.

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Francesco Molinari’s second victory in the Italian Open, where he edged a titanic tussle with Danny Willett in the final round, has earned him the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month award for September.

Molinari, who first won the Italian Open in 2006, pulled off a miraculous recovery from the trees at the final hole at Golf Club Milano to finish a shot ahead of Masters champion Willett.

“I will remember that last round forever,” said Molinari. “The crowds were amazing, me and Danny played some great golf and the cheers when I won were unbelievable.

“Winning my home Open for the second time probably meant even more to me than the first time, because there was a lot of expectation and pressure on me, so I didn’t want to let anyone down.”

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Lundin duo Gary Strein and Stuart Fowler have been crowned as Scottish Club Handicap champions for 2016.

They claimed the title at The Carrick at Cameron House with a seven-under-par 64, winning by three shots from Logie’s Derek Urquhart and Stuart Robertson.

Gannochy’s Gary Tough and Nick Yates were a stroke further back in third place.

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