8am Round-Up: Muirfield members vote again on admitting women

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers failed to get a required majority for admitting women members last May. Picture: Jon Savage

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers failed to get a required majority for admitting women members last May. Picture: Jon Savage

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The result of a second ballot on the admission of women members at Muirfield is expected to be announced by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers next month.

The East Lothian club revealed this morning that members have begun voting in a postal ballot and have been urged to give the proposal “unanimous” backing.

“The postal ballot will be independently scrutinised and the outcome is expected to be announced in mid-March 2017,” said a press release issued on behalf of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

“Voting in favour of the resolution to admit women as Members is recommended, unanimously, by the captain, captain nominate and the club committee of the Honourable Company.”

It follows a vote last year on a proposal to admit women as members failing to achieve the two-thirds majority required to change the club’s rules.

That led the R&A to announce that Muirfield would not be considered to host the Open Championship until the position changed.

Royal Troon voted unanimously in favour of admitting women members just before it hosted the world’s oldest major for a ninth time last summer.

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Michele Thomson made a dream LPGA Tour debut as she outscored some of the game’s big guns, including world No 1 Lydia Ko, in the first round of the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open today.

The Aberdonian shot a brilliant five-under-par 68 at Royal Adelaide to sit joint-sixth, leaving her just three shots off the lead, held by home player Katherine Kirk, and well ahead of the two other Scots in the field.

Also making her first appearance on the LPGA Tour, Gemma Dryburgh signed for a 73 to sit just outside the top 60 while Catriona Matthew had to settle for a 76, which left her down in a share of 111th spot.

In fairness to Matthew, she was out in the afternoon, when a strengthening wind made conditions a lot more difficult than they had been in the morning for the likes of Thomson and leader Kirk.

Thomson, who was among the last group of players to get into the event, showed no sign of nerves whatsoever as she raced to the turn in four-under thanks to birdies at the third, seventh, eighth and ninth.

She picked up another shot at the 15th before dropping her only shot of the day at the next but a birdie at the 17th completed a superb day’s work for the 28-year-old, who only returned to full-time golf last year after a break that included a spell working as a policewoman.

Dryburgh, who also secured her spot through the ALPG Tour money-list, mixed three birdies with three bogeys in her round while Matthew, after being two-under early on as she started out on her 23th season on the LPGA Tour, had two double-bogeys - at the 12th and 18th - on her card.

Ko opened with a 71, which was matched by Beth Allen, the Edinburgh-based American who topped the European money-list last season, while English star Charley Hull had a 72.

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Local favourite Brett Rumford made home advantage count to set the clubhouse target on day one of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.

The Perth native set the early pace, recording just a single bogey in an opening 66, but he had plenty of local competition on a congested leaderboard.

Fellow Western Australians Daniel Fox and Jason Scrivener were just a single shot back at five under alongside countryman Adam Blyth, Englishman Robert Dinwiddie and German Sebastian Heisele.

Scott Henry dropped five shots in his last five holes for a 78 to sit joint-last in the clubhouse.

Duncan Stewart, the other Scot in the field, was out in one-over after being among the later starters.

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Connor Syme is set to become the second Scottish amateur to make a European Tour start in South Africa this year after securing a spot in next week’s Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old’s opportunity Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club comes after Craig Ross played in last month’s SA Open at Glendower by virtue of winning the South African Amateur Championship last year.

Syme’s notable success in 2016 came in the Australian equivalent, earning him an outing in the Australian Open at Royal Sydney, where he played with two former winners, Robert Allenby and Peter Lonard, at the end of last year.

During that trip, the Drumoig player also tested himself against professionals in the New South Wales Open, and now he’s set to do likewise when the European Tour heads back to South Africa in a week’s time.

The event will help Syme, the world No 14, warm up for the following week’s Sanlam South African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek, where he will join Ross and the rest of the Scottish players currently competing in the Cape Province Open Championship at Kingswood in George.

After a second-round 72, Kirkhill’s Ross leads the Caledonian contingent in joint-13th, six shots behind Irishman Alex Gleeson, who holds a two-shot lead, while Jamie Stewart and Craig Howie are a shot back after matching 70s.

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Jack McDonald, Daniel Young and Ewen Ferguson are all sitting in the top 20 heading into the final round of the Ein Bay Open, the opening event on this season’s Alps Tour, at Sokhna Golf Club in Egypt.

McDonald catapulted up the leaderboard after a second-round 67 for a six-under total, lying alongside Young (72) in joint-11th while Ferguson is two shots back in a share of 18th after an equally encouraging 69.

After a second successive 66, Frenchman Alexandre Daydou leads by two shots from a group that includes two of his compatriots, Leo Lespinasse and Julien Brun.

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Wallace Booth is lying joint-30th heading into today’s final round of the Mediter Real Estate Masters, an Ecco Tour Winter Series event at PGA Catalunya.

The Pitlochry-attached player carded a one-under 69 on the Tour Course at the Girona venue in his second round.

Germany’s Florian Fritsch carded a 60 on the same course to lead by four shots on 13-under-par.

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Dunfermline amateur Alister Ferguson topped the leaderboard as the Midland Golfers’ Alliance visited Charleton in Fife.

His four-under-par 67 pipped fellow scratch player Scott Graham from Arbroath and Carnoustie pro Fraser Mann by the narrowest of margins.

Graham and Edzell’s Gary Tough shared the handicap honours with net 68s.

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Newmachar’s John Duff has recorded his eighth win on this season’s North East Alliance circuit.

His latest success came courtesy of a seven-under-par 63 at Spey Bay, where Duff finished five shots clear of the field.

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Twenty-eight golf and city club managers from nine European and Middle East countries attended a management development programme in Edinburgh hosted by the Club Managers Association of Europe.

The delegates from Scotland, England, Wales, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and Egypt were invited to a Scottish Golf and Club Managers Association seminar for a talk from Jim James, director of operations at Augusta National

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