8am Round-Up; Scottish pair in same US Open group at Erin Hills

Martin Laird came through a sectional qualifier earlier this week to get into the US Open. Picture: Jane Barlow
Martin Laird came through a sectional qualifier earlier this week to get into the US Open. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Scottish duo Martin Laird and Russell Knox have been drawn in the same group for the opening two rounds of next week’s US Open at Erin Hills.

The pair will set out early in Thursday’s first circuit at the Wisconsin venue along with Englishman Scott Gregory, the Amateur champion.

Scottish No 1 Russell Knox was an exemption for the season's second major at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Picture: Getty Images

Scottish No 1 Russell Knox was an exemption for the season's second major at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Picture: Getty Images

That group for the season’s second major is set to tee off from the first at 8.13am local time, which be early afternoon in the UK.

Gregory, who beat Glencruitten’s Robert MacIntyre in the final of the Amateur Championship last year, should be used to having Scottish company on the course.

The Hampshire man was paired with Sandy Lyle at both The Open last year and then The Masters in April for the opening two rounds.

Richie Ramsay, the third Scot in the field, has been drawn in a group that features three former US Amateur champions.

Starting from the 10th at 1.25pm local time, he’s out with Australian Nick Flanagan and American Bryson DeChambeau.

Flanangan won the US Amateur in 2003, three years before Ramsay achived that feat, while DeChambeau claimed the crown two years ago.

As always, the USGA has come up with some cracking groups, including one that sees the last three winners of the event - Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson - out together.

That’s the main morning group on Thursday while the big crowd puller in the afternoon will be Jason Day, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, the latter two being former winners.

Open champion Henrik Stenson is out with South African duo Charl Schwarzel and Louis Oosthuizen while Sergio Garcia has been drawn with Bubba Watson and Adam Scott in a group featuring Masters winners.

Phil Mickelson is in one of the third last groups due to tee off at 2.20pm, giving him an outside chance of playing after attending his daughter’s high school graduation in California.

If so, he’ll be out with Wisconsin man Steve Stricker and former Open champion Stewart Cink, both successul in sectional qualifiers for the event earlier this week.

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Duncan Stewart headed into today’s second round as the top Scot in the Lyoness Open, this week’s European Tour event, in Austria.

It followed the Edinburgh-based player signing for a one-under-par 71 in his opening effort at Diamond Country Club in Salzburg.

That left him sitting in a share of 23rd spot, six shots behind Felipe Aguilar after the Chilean opened with eight birdies.

Stephen Gallacher was next best among the Scots on 72, which probably felt disappointing for the former Ryder Cup player after he’d picked up three birdies in the first four holes.

Craig Lee finished bogey, double-bogey as he had to settle for a 73 while Scott Henry could only manage an 81.

Marc Warren, the fifth Scot in the field, withdraw due to injuy after he opened with a 77.

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Former winner Jamie McLeary and Grant Forrest fared best among the tartan contingent in the opening round of the Challenge Tour’s KPMG Trophy in Belgium.

Matching three-under-par 69s left the duo sitting just outside the top 20, though six shots off the pace after it had been set by Dane Joachim B Hansen with a round that contained a hole-in-one at the 15th.

Two other Scots, David Law and Ross Kellett, were set to start the second round inside the projected cut on 71.

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Paul O’Hara added the Northern Open to his ever-expanding Tartan Tour CV after completing an impressive wire-to-wire win at Moray Golf Club in Lossiemouth.

Three shots ahead at the halfway stage, the 30-year-old Motherwell man closed with rounds of 66 and 71 for a seven-under-par 277 total.

The only player in the 86-strong field to finish in red figures, he triumphed by seven shots from Paul McKechnie, Gavin Hay and Greg McBain.

“This win is right up there with my best,” admitted O’Hara after landing a £1400 top prize. “It was great to win on the EPD Tour in Germany (2011) while last year’s P&H Championship had bigger prize-money than here.

“However, this was over 72 holes and it also offers more Order of Merit points and one of my goals is to finish in the top three again so that I get into the PGA Play-Offs at the end of the season.”

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Former Open champion Stewart Cink maintained his recent good form to earn a share of the lead after the first round of the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis.

His six-under-par 64, which was matched by Mayy Every, Scott Brown and Sebastian Munoz, came a few days after Cink had qualified for next week’s US Open at Erin Hills.

Scottish No 1 Russell Knox is seven shots off the lead after dropping three shots in his final four holes.

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Norway’s Suzann Pettersen is off to a promising start in the Manulife LPGA Classic in Ontario.

The Solheim Cup star bagged nine birdies in an eight-under 64 to set the pace along with Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee in Canada.

Scottish No 1 Catriona Matthew sits in a share of 56th after a 71 while Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen had a 74 to lie 97th

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Former winner Clara Young survived a scare to reach this morning’s quarter-finals in the Scottish Women’s Championship at Royal Aberdeen.

The North Berwick 20-year-old was three down at the turn to Kemnay’s Rachael Polson before scraping through with a 6 at the first extra hole.

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Jamie Savage is sitting just outside the top 10 after the opening round of Villaverde Open on the Alps Tour.

It followed him signing for four birdies in a three-under-par 67 at Udine Golf Club in Italy.