8am Round Up: Still cutting at Castle Stuart at Christmas

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Greenkeepers at Castle Stuart will be cutting greens and fairways right up to Christmas for just the second time since the course opened in 2009.

The unusual situation at the Scottish Open venue outside Inverness has resulted from spells of mild weather this month.

“Some days we have had frost on the ground, but then warmer conditions which means the grass is still growing,” said course manager Chris Haspell.

“Normally the last cut of the year is done by late November, but this year we will still be cutting greens right up to Christmas for only the second time since the course opened in 2009.”

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Thongchai Jaidee is playing an Asian Development Tour event this week in Thailand in a bid to secure a spot in next year’s Masters.

The Thai star needs a victory in the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship at Rancho Charnvee Resorts & Country Club to to get into the world’s top 50 and clinch one a coveted invitation from Augusta National.

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Three Scottish hopefuls - Heather Stirling, Laura Murray and Jane Turner - have failed to make it into today’s fifth and final round in the Ladies European Tour Lalla Aicha Tour School in Morocco.

Needing to be among the top 60 and ties after 72 holes to stay in the card hunt, former Scottish Women’s champion Stirling came closest of the trio, missing out by a shot on five-over after a fourth-round 70 at the Amelkis course in Marrakech.

Following a 72 on the same course, Murray, another former national title-holder, finished two shots below the cut-off mark as 66 players progressed on four-over or better, while Turner fell four strokes short after a 73, also at Amelkis.

The disappointment means that Michele Thomson, who graduated from the Access Series, will be the only Scottish newcomer on the LET Tour in 2017, joining Catriona Matthew, Pamela Pretswell, Kylie Walker, Vikki Laing, Kelsey Macdonald, Gemma Dryburgh, Carly Booth and Sally Watson after they all held on to their cards at the end of this season.

Frenchwoman Céline Boutier is on course to secure her playing privilges in style, having stretched the lead she has held from the opening round to four shots heading into the final circuit. Winner of the 2015 Ladies’ British Amateur Championship Portstewart, Boutier carded a 70 at Samannah, the other course being used for the final, for a 17-under-par 271 total.

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The Evian Resort Golf Club, host of women’s major the Evian Championship, is to stage the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup.

The event will be the first Arnold Palmer Cup to be held in continental Europe and also the first under an expanded format.

It will include men’s and women’s USA collegiate golfers against the counterparts from around the world, having been restricted to men in the past.

The annual Ryder Cup-style competition will be played on 6-8 July 2018.

“Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation is pleased to welcome a new era of the Arnold Palmer Cup at Evian Resort Golf Club,” said Kevin Bingham, CEO of Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation.

“Arnold Palmer was a worldwide ambassador for the game and the positive attributes that it can bring out in all of us.

“We’re honored the matches will continue to emphasise these principles to men’s and women’s collegiate golfers from around the world.”