8am Round-Up: More than 15,000 votes cast in golf popularity poll

Carly Booth is hoping to secure a spot in the $1.5m LPGA Shoprite Classic in early June. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Carly Booth is hoping to secure a spot in the $1.5m LPGA Shoprite Classic in early June. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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More than 15,000 votes have been cast in the popularity poll on Twitter to decide the last exemption for a $1.5million event.

Carly Booth is in the running for the coveted spot in the LPGA Shoprite Classic and is using the social media to plead for votes.

“Please don’t forget to vote for me, every vote counts for a spot into @ShopRiteLPGA,” the Comrie woman wrote in a message accompanying a video of her visiting the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata today during a promotional trip this week to India.

Booth is up against American Blair O’Neal, Indian Sharmila Nicollet and Bolivian-born Susana Benavides in the unique Twitter poll.

Running for a week, having been launched on Monday night, the total number of votes had already risen to 15,091 at around 7am this morning.

Booth, a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, has more than 62,000 followers on Instagram while over 35,000 people track her movements on Twitter.

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Russell Knox has proved that his winning putt in last year’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut was no fluke.

The Scot holed the exact same putt from around 15 feet once more during a return to TPC River Highlands for a media day ahead of this year’s event.

“Take a deep breath,” he said walking up to the ball. “All these people here. One putt away from being a champion.

“Then I remember at the time I stood over the putt saying to myself, ‘just trust it”. I think I had a couple of practice strokes and I just kept telling myself, ‘you are going to make this’.”

In it went again and, as had been the case last August after clinching a second PGA Tour triumph, he tossed his cap across the green in delight.

“That is an easy putt,” declared the Invernesian, with a huge smile on his face.

Knox defends his title at the venue in Cromwell from 22-25 June.

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World No 1 Dustin Johnson makes his return this week from the back injury that forced him to miss the Masters when he was trying to make it four wins in a row.

Johnson is in the field for the Wells Fargo Championship at Wilmington in North Carolina, where he will play with Davis Love III and Bill Haas in the opening two rounds.

Martin Laird, who is flying the Saltire in the event as compatriot Russell Knox prepares for next week’s Players Championship at Sawgrass, is out with Scott Stallings and Spencer Levin.

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Scotland, represented by Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren, will face Thailand, Spain and Belgium in the round-robin phase of this weekend’s inaugural GolfSixes at the Centurion Club in St Albans.

Made live on Sky Sports, the draw for the €1million event has left the Scottish pair facing a tough task on Saturday in the battle for the top two spots in the group and a place in Sunday’s knock-out stage.

Thailand, the No 2 seeds, are being represented by Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat; Pablo Larrazábal and Alejandro Cañizares will be on duty for Spain while Ryder Cup player Nicolas Colsaerts teams up with rising star Thomas Detry in the Belgiam side.

Top seeds England, with Ryder Cup duo Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood flying the flag for the host nation, face Denmark, the Netherlands and India.

Australia, Wales, USA and Portugal are in another group while the final one consists of South Africa, France, Sweden and Italy.

All matches are being played over six holes under greensomes, whereby the best tee shot is selected and then alternate shots are then played.

The draw is:

Group A - England, Denmark, The Netherlands, India

Group B - Thailand, Spain, Belgium, Scotland

Group C - Australia, Wales, USA, Portugal

Group D - South Africa, France, Sweden, Italy

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Gillian Kirkwood, one of the most experienced administrators in Scottish sport, has been tasked with leading the Ladies’ Golf Union in the early stages of its merger with the R&A.

It follows the Edinburgh University graduate, who has held a variety of posts at club, county and country level, being confirmed as Diane Bailey’s successor as the LGU president.

The merger of the LGU and the R&A took effect earlier this year, and, building on the foundations laid by Bailey and R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, Kirkwood will work with the St Andrews-based organisation to support its work in women’s and girls’ golf.

“It is a great honour to be offered the role of president and I am delighted to accept the invitation to represent the organisation and support its work in growing and developing women’s golf in countries around the world,” said Kirkwood.

Her roles over the years have including vice-chair and chair of the SLGA and LGU, chair of the Great Britain and Ireland Selection Committee and president of the Scottish Veteran Ladies Golfing Association.

An experienced rules official, she was also captain of Midlothian County Ladies Golf Association, served as ladies’ captain at Broomieknowe and is currently vice-captain of Gullane Ladies.

“Women’s golf has made good progress and I look forward to encouraging more women and girls to participate in golf more regularly and become members of clubs,” added Kirkwood, who worked in IT as a senior manager in the higher education sector before retiring.

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James Byrne was handily placed heading into today’s second round of the MENA Tour’s Mahasamutr Masters in Thailand.

The Scot, who is based in Thailand, opened with a three-under 69 to sit just two shots off the overnight lead.

That was held by three players - Englishman Zane Scotland, Lionel Weber from France and ace Thai Varanyu Rattanaphaibulkij.

Clarke Lutton opened with a 72 while Lee Harper, the third Scot in the field, signed for an 80 at Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin.

Fifteen-year-old Victoria Tip-Aucha shot 73 as she became the first woman to tee it up on the third-tier circuit.