8am Round-Up: Scots set for smallest Open contingent since 2008

Just five Scots are currently in the line-up for the Claret Jug joust at Royal Birkdale in a fortnight's time. Picture: Getty Images
Just five Scots are currently in the line-up for the Claret Jug joust at Royal Birkdale in a fortnight's time. Picture: Getty Images
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Scotland could have its lowest representation in an Open Championship since the event was last played at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

Amateur Connor Syme’s success in one of the final qualifiers yesterday has increased the tartan contingent to five for the 146th staging of golf’s oldest major in a fortnight’s time.

The Fifer joins former winners Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie, as well as Russell Knox and Martin Laird, in the Lancashire line-up after sharing top spot in the shoot-out at Gailes Links in Ayrshire.

A quintet of Scots were also in the field at the same venue nine years ago, namely Lawrie, Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Barry Hume and Doug McGuigan.

That was one more than a pitiful band at Royal Liverpool two years earlier, but it has been bigger ever since.

Nine Scots played at Turnberry in 2009 followed by six in each of the next three years before the figure rose to 10 at Muirfield in 2013.

Eight then teed up at Royal Liverpool the next year before it dropped to six at St Andrews in 2015 and also at Royal Troon last summer.

There is still a chance that more Saltires in the field at Royal Birkdale due to spots being up for grabs in both this week’s Irish Open and next week’s Scottish Open.

Three places are in offer in each event to the leading non-exempt players, though a top-10 finish is also required.

Among those hoping to take that route into the season’s third major are Warren, David Drysdale, Scott Jamieson, Stephen Gallacher and Duncan Stewart.

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Four sponsor’s spots are still up for grabs in next week’s £5.5 million Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.

Six places in total were on offer for non-exempt players, with two of those having been handed to Martin Laird and former Open champion Stewart Cink.

Four other spots will be decided in this week’s 36-hole qualifier at Kilmarnock (Barassie).

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Stephen Gallacher will hit one of the opening shots in the Irish Open tomorrow at Portstewart, a new venue for the event.

The three-time European Tour winner is in the first match from the first tee along with Raphael Jacquelin and David Howell.

Tournament host Rory McIlroy is in the headline group with Spanish star Jon Rahm and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.

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Josh Greer, a 16-year-old Scot who moved with his family to Australia five years ago, has stormed all the way to the Scottish Boys’ Amateur final at Scotscraig.

After a week of upsets at the event, running concurrently with the Scottish Girls’ for the first time, Greer saw off two Scotland Boys’ internationalists today, first taking the scalp of Lewis Irvine (Kirkhill) and then Callum Bruce (Duff House Royal).

Greer will now meet Greg Dalziel from Airdrie in today’s 36-hole final at Scotscraig after he beat Lochgelly’s Dean Walsh in the other last-four clash.

Meantime, in the girls’ event, today’s title showdown will be between Broomieknowe’s Hannah Darling and Jillian Farrell from Cardross.