8am Round-Up: Scottish pair to the fore in China

Richie Ramsay has opened with rounds of 69 and 68 in the Shenzhen International. Picture: Getty Images

Richie Ramsay has opened with rounds of 69 and 68 in the Shenzhen International. Picture: Getty Images

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Scottish duo Richie Ramsay and Scott Jamieson were both sitting in the top 10 after completing their second rounds in the Shenzhen International in China.

Austrian ace Bernd Wiesberger had stormed into a four-shot lead at Genzon Golf Club after returning this morning to post a 67 as he completed his opening circuit before adding a 65 to sit on 12-under.

But Ramsay (69-68) and Jamieson (69-69) are also both set to head into the weekend with the title in their sights on eight and seven-under respectively.

The two Scots were also among the players who had to return early this morning to finish their opening rounds after a delay yesterday caused by the threat of thunderstorms in the area.

Ramsay, who has missed three cuts in his last four events, then had six birdies in his second round, including thee in a row from the 11th.

Jamieson, who is lying 58th in this season’s Race to Dubai after a promising run of form, was on course to be sitting ahead of his compatriot at the halfway stage after picking up six birdies in 10 holes.

He then undid some of that good work by finishing with a double-bogey 6 at the last, but nonetheless Jamieson looks set to be in a decent position heading into the final 36 holes.

Wiesberger has been in brilliant form over the last eight months, having not missed a cut while claiming seven top-five finishes as he seeks a fourth European Tour title.

He carded seven birdies in flawless second round to hold a four-shot lead in the clubhouse over South African Dylan Frittelli (68-68) and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen (68-68).

Stephen Gallacher followed his opening 70 with a 72 and looked like comfortably making the cut on two-under.

Duncan Stewart, one of the later starters in the second round, had moved to four-under for the tournament after covering his opening eight holes in three-under.

David Drysdale, the fifth Scot in the field, was alongside Gallacher, having gone out in level-par.

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Former winner Martin Laird is six shots off the lead, held by South African Branden Grace, after the opening round of the Valero Texas Open.

Laird, who got into The Masters after claiming this title in 2013, birdied the final three holes for an opening level-par 72 in San Antonio.

It left him sitting joint-70th as Grace carded seven birdies to lead by a shot from three Americans - Will MacKenzie, John Huh and Stewart Cink - as well as Kiwi Steven Alker.

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell is sitting just two shots back, as is 2013 Scottish Hydro Challenge winner Brooks Koepka.

But Ian Poulter, who is fighting to hang on to his PGA Tour card, could only manage a 75 after starting with three bogeys in his first five holes.

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Not since Heather Stirling achieved the feat in 2002 has a home player lifted the Helen Holm Trophy and it will take an odds-defying effort for the record books to be re-written at Troon over the next three days.

With Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam, for instance, having finished third in what is the Scottish Women’s Open Strole-Play Championship as recently as two years ago and back to try again, it’s not an impossibility for that coveted prize to end up in home hands.

Based on her encouraging display in the Nations Cup event in Sotogrande earlier in the year, Chloe Goady, another teenager who is a member of the St Regulus Club in St Andrews, could also raise hopes of those record books being re-penned on Sunday.

The strength of the non-Scottish challenge, however, points to that barren run for home players continuing, with the handicap cut-off being one of the lowest ever for the event at 0.5.

Leading contenders are likely to include Rotherham’s Olivia Winning, who is bidding for a third triumph in the event, and 2010 winner Danielle McVeigh, the tall Northern Ireland player who has been re-instated as an amateur.

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Gemma Dryburgh led a strong Scottish start in the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open, a new LET event close to Barcelona.

The Aberdonian carded a four-under-par 67 at Club de Golf Terramar to sit in a five-way tie for second, one shot behind Swede Anna Nordqvist.

Pamela Pretswell (68) and Kelsey Macdonald (69) also opened brightly, with Sally Watson breaking par as well with her 70.

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Former Walker Cup player Jack McDonald started best among nine Scots in the Turkish Airlines Challenge at Gloria Golf in Belek.

The Ayrshireman posted a four-under-par 68 to lie in a share of 13th, though six shots off the pace after Finn Tapio Pulkkanen blazed a hot trail with an eagle and 10 birdies.

Grant Forrest, with a 69, was next best out of the Scots, followed by Scott Henry, Ross Kellett and Jamie McLeary all on 71.

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A poor finish cost Jimmy Gunn the chance to lead after the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s United Leasing & Finance Championship in Newburgh, Indiana.

The Dornoch man was six-under with four holes to play, having birdied the second, third, fourth, 10th, 12th and 14th holes, before finishing bogey-bogey-bogey-bogey.

His two-under 70 left him sitting tied for sixth, two shots behind co-leaders Abraham Ancer, Kyle Thompson and Ryan Yip.

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Golf’s capacity to allow players to stay competitive a lot longer than most other sports has helped the PGA in Scotland attract a sponsor for a new series of seniors’ events on this season’s Tartan Tour.

Ayrshire-based Grant’s Foods is delighted to be backing the Senior Golf Series, which comprises spring and autumn fourball tournaments at Buchanan Castle on June 12 and Duddingston on August 21, along with the flagship Grant’s Foods Scottish Senior Professional Championship at Haggs Castle on 12 and 13 July.

“We are really pleased to be involved in this new series of events,” said managing director John Fallon. “PGA Professionals are excellent ambassadors for golf and it is great that the game gives people the chance to keep playing into their 70s, 80s and even beyond.”

Fallon, a keen golfer himself, being a member of Glasgow Golf Club and also playing regularly in Alliance events, added: “Many sports are driven by youth, but people often forget that you also have to try and keep players involved when they get older.

“This sponsorship is a great tie up for us as I think people relate better to some of the seniors than they do with the main tour players.”

PGA in Scotland secretary Shona Malcolm added: “The Grant’s Foods Senior Golf Series is an excellent addition to the PGA in Scotland’s portfolio of events.

“I believe it’s important to provide playing and networking opportunities for all PGA members as they progress through the different stages of their careers.

“Golf is the recognised ‘game for life’ and, with the support of Grant’s Foods, we’re delighted to provide these opportunities to suit the different priorities that more senior PGA professionals might have, while still retaining their competitive edge.”

Among the players likely to play in one or more of the Senior Golf Series events are former PGA champion Andrew Oldcorn and two-time European Tour winner Stephen McAllister.

Others likely to tee up include Robert Arnott, the current Silversea PGA Senior Pro champion, and Fraser Mann, who won the Grants Foods Scottish Senior Championship last year over 18 holes.

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