8am Round-Up: Steady starts for Scots in Australia

Stephen Gallacher on his way to a level-par 72 in the opening round of the Australian PGA Championship. Picture: Getty Images

Stephen Gallacher on his way to a level-par 72 in the opening round of the Australian PGA Championship. Picture: Getty Images

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Stephen Gallacher and Bradley Neil both matched par as the first round of the Australian PGA Championship got the 2017 European Tour campaign underway today.

Ross Kellett and Duncan Stewart, the other Scots in the field, were still out on the course

before the threat of lightning saw play suspended at 3.16pm local time at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Gallacher, who ended the 2016 season on a high after the injury problems that forced him to be sidelined for two months in the summer, signed for two birdies and two bogeys in a steady level-par 72.

That was matched by Neil, the 2013 Amateur champion, as he mixed four birdies with four bogeys, leaving the pair sitting joint-37th in the clubhouse.

Kellett is also level-par with seven to play while Stewart is one-over after 15 holes, having had three birdies, a double-bogey and a bogey on his front nine.

Australian Andrew Dodt leads in the clubhouse after a seven-under 65, two in front of Kiwi Ryan Fox and American duo Julian Suri and Harold Varner III.

Former winner and last year’s runner-up Adam Scott is in a group on four-under after finishing with three consecutive birdies.

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Scottish star Catriona Matthew has been paired with Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen for the opening day of The Queens presented by Kowa in Japan.

The duo take on Australians Sarah Kemp and Stacey Keating in the third match as LET captain Trish Johnson looks for her side to get off to a flying start.

Johnson has selected English duo Florentyna Parker and Georgia Hall to open proceedings against Ritsuko Ryu and Kotone Hori of the JLPGA Team in the first of tomorrow’s eight matches.

Elsewhere, Spain’s Nuria Iturrios and Isabelle Boineau of France come up against Hee Won Jung and Seon Woo Bae of Korea while Sweden’s Linda Wessberg and Becky Morgan of Wales take on Japanese pair Erika Kikuchi and Ayaka Watanabe.

“We’ve got some difficult matches but my team are playing great,” said Johnson. “They are unbelievably confident, hopefully not over-confident. I’m really looking forward to it and it should be fun.”

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Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen made a steady start on the tougher of the two layouts being used for the LPGA Qualifying School final at Daytona Beach in Florida.

Allen, who is set to be crowned as the LET’s No 1 in Dubai next week, carded a one-under-par 71 on the Hills Course at LPGA International to sit joint-22nd after the first of five rounds.

Also launching their card bids on the same course, Sally Watson and Gemma Dryburgh signed for matching 77s to sit in a share of 126th while Kylie Walker is lying close to the foot of the scoreboard after an 81.

Watson’s card included a triple-bogey 7 at the fifth, Dryburgh ran up a double-bogey at the first while Walker had double-bogeys at the 11th, her second, and ninth, her last.

Playing on the Jones Course, Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and American amateur Katelyn Dambaugh fired five-under-par 67s to share the lead.

The scoring average for the Hills on day one was 75.068, compared to 72.621 on the Jones.

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Welshman Philip Price stormed into contention at the halfway stage in the Champions Tour Qualifying School at the Disney resort in Florida.

The 2002 Ryder Cup player fired a second-round 66 at the Lake Buena Vista course to jump 28 spots into joint-fifth on five-under.

Price, who signed for seven birdies, sits three off the lead, held by American Jim Carter after he also posted six-under in his second round.

Frenchman Jean Van de Velde dropped 16 spots to 26th after a 75 and sits just ahead of Price’s compatriot, Stephen Dodd, following his 72.

Two-time Scottish Senior Open Barry Lane signed for the same score to lie in a share of 41st while former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley lifted himself off bottom spot after a battling 75.

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A spectacular tee shot just inches from a hole-in-one earned Christiaan Bezuidenhout the honour of becoming the inaugural Alfred Dunhill Par 3 Champion at Leopard Creek in South Africa.

The new par-3 lay-out, with each hole designed in the spirit of some of the greatest holes in world golf – from Augusta to Troon, Muirfield to St Andrews – was being played for the first time as the best of the European Tour and Sunshine Tour players took part in the curtain-raiser for the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Ultimately the title went to Bezuidenhout after a play-off with Erik van Rooyen and Jean-Paul Strydom after the three tied on four-under 23.

The trio returned to the seventh hole, designed in the image of the iconic 17th at Sawgrass, with Bezuidenhout winning the title with a shot that came within a whisker of becoming the event’s first ace.

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Forrester Park, represented by pro Paul Edgecombe and his amateur partner Andrew Sturton, are lying six shots off the lead at the halfway stage in the Golfplan Pro-Captain Challenge Grand Final in Spain.

They carded a four-under 67 in the opening round at Lumine Beach & Golf Club, where Kedleston Park pair Ian Walley and Richard Smith set a hot pace with a 61 to lead by three from Shipley’s Nathan Stead and Baxter Ireland.

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Paul Lawrie took route 66 at Portlethen to a fourth victory in six starts on this season’s North-East Alliance circuit.

The six-under-par effort earned the 1999 Open champion a four-shot success on this occasion from Kevin Duncan, who plays out of the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre.

“Well done @PortlethenGC today,” wrote Lawrie on Twitter. “Was mostly summer greens and tees and stovies well lovely.”

Replying to a comment about him giving “normal pros” the chance to compete against a major champion, he added: “I would hope it’s good for everyone that I play Alliances. I certainly enjoy them.”

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Former South African Amateur champion Brian Soutar maintained his eye-catching form by firing a six-under-par 64 in winning the Midland Golfers’ Alliance event at Leven Links.

The Leven Golding Society player, who packed in playing at the top level for a spell but appears to be getting his appetite back, finished four shots ahead of closest challenger Bob Stewart (Tulliallan).

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Scotland’s title-winning European Men’s Amateur side is in the running for the Team of the Year prize in tonight’s Sunday Mail and sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards.

Nominated for the covered award after retaining the title in Chantilly to become the first Scottish side to win back-to-back titles for 39 years, they are up against the Scottish women’s football team and the Scotland women’s Homeless World Cup side.

The ceremony takes placed at The Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central.

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Jack Doherty is two off the lead after an opening one-under-par 71 in the Asian Development Tour’s Thongchai Jaidee Foundation event at Black Mountain in Thailand.

He sits three shots ahead of his compatriot James Byrne, a regular and winner on the circuit.

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