8am Round-Up: Russell Knox makes pre-Masters visit to Augusta

Scottish No 1 Russell Knox will be making his second Masters appearance in April. Picture: Getty Images
Scottish No 1 Russell Knox will be making his second Masters appearance in April. Picture: Getty Images
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Russell Knox has started the build up to his second Masters appearance by playing a practice round at Augusta National.

The Scottish No 1, who missed the cut on his debut last year following rounds of 79 and 73, was invited for a visit by an Augusta member, Bryan Jones.

Knox was joined by his coach and his manager, as well as fellow PGA Tour professional Henrik Norlander from Sweden.

“It’s just so awesome driving into Augusta and especially now for a second time outside of the Masters, as it’s just a magical place,” Knox told the website, golfbytourmiss.com.

“It was opportune last week as I was not playing out in LA to head up to Augusta and it’s not too long a drive from Jacksonville.

“But then playing Augusta last week is not all about Augusta even though playing well at Augusta is super-important.

“I am more focused about peaking this week (in the Honda Classic) and also next week in Mexico (in the first WGC event of the year). I want to play well every week.”

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Drumoig amateur Connor Syme was out in level-par in the opening round of the Joburg Open on his European Tour debut this morning.

Playing the West Course at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington, the 22-year-old had three birdies, a double-bogey and two bogeys on his card at the turn.

South African amateur Teaghan Gauche was also giving a good account of himself, sitting joint-second, a shot behind English pro Aaron Rai, after going out in three-under on the same course.

Marc Warren, the other early starter among seven Scots in the field was one-under after six on the East Course.

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Scottish No 1 Catriona Matthew was having a nightmare in the first round of the Honda LPGA Thailand in Chonburi this morning.

She was sitting in last place after stumbling to the turn in 43, seven-over, having started with two double-bogeys at the 10th and 11th.

Matthew then dropped shots at the 13th, 14th and 16th to sit 11 shots off the lead, held by four players, including world No 2 Ariya Jutanugarn.

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Liam Johnston, the last Scot standing, was one down at the turn to home hope Caylum Boon in this morning’s Sanlam South African Amateur Championship quarter-finals at Humewood.

Bidding to become the fifth Scot to claim the title in the last five years, Johnston lost the first and was two down before hitting back with a birdie at the eighth.

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Former Walker Cup player Ewen Ferguson has started his first full season in the professional ranks with two top-20 finishes on the Alps Tour.

He backed up claiming eighth spot in the Ein Bay Open at Sokhna in Egypt by securing a share of 17th in the Rea Sea Little Venice Open at the same venue.

“I played nicely in both events and did everything very solid,” said the Bearsden player. “I knew that I would still be a little rusty so didn’t get too frustrated with myself. I really enjoyed my golf and was excited to get out there and compete.

“I didn’t play amazing, but it was another stepping stone and I look to keep moving foward and getingt better and learning all the time. I think the Alps Tour is a great circuit and very well run. Hopefully I can push on from this and perform well on both the Challenge Tour and Alps Tour for the rest of the season.”

Perth man Daniel Young has also made an encouraging start on the third-tier circuit, having followed up his sixth place in the Ein Bay Open by finishing joint-22nd on this occasion.

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Nairn teenager Sandy Scott finished joint-third in the individual standings in The Prestige at PGA West in California.

Scott, who was playing for Texas Tech in the team event, closed with a 70 for a four-under-par 209 total, five shots behind runaway winner Jared duToit from Arizona State.

Chris Maclean leapfrogged Jordan Sundborg to finish as the leading Stirling University player in a share of 30th spot.

With a level-par aggregate LSU, won the team title by four shots from Pepperdine with Texas Tech joint-fourth and Stirling University 11th.

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Annika Sörenstam will take a closer look at the European prospects for the Solheim Cup when she attends the inaugural Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open near Barcelona in April.

The former world No 1 will be Club de Golf Terramar in Sitges as she seeks players to run the rule over hopefuls for the match at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa in August.

“I am thrilled to be attending the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open,” said Soresnstam. “Spain has a rich golfing history as well as some talented young ladies currently on tour.

“I look forward to seeing some of the European players up close in Barcelona, one of Europe’s great sporting cities, with my friend and Solheim Cup vice captain, Marta Figueras-Dotti.”