8am Round-Up: Watching brief for Craig Lee in Portugal

Craig Lee. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Craig Lee. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Craig Lee can keep a close eye on some of the players capable of playing a part in the Scot potentially losing his European Tour card in the Portugal Masters this week.

In an interesting move by the tournament organisers, the Stirling man, who is sitting 110th in the Race to Dubai, has been paired with Daniel Im and Eddie Pepperell - ranked 109th and 111th - for the opening two rounds.

Two of the other “bubble boys” heading into the final regular event of the season - Jason Scrivener (114th) and Oliver Fisher (115th) - have also been grouped together at Victoria Clube de Golfe in Villamoura.

Lee, who has left it late for the third year running to try and retain his playing privileges, can afford to drop one spot come Sunday night as Swede David Lingmerth’s affiliate membership effectively removes him from the Race to Dubai rankings.

The Scot won’t want to cut it that close, though, and, if he can make it to the weekend for the seventh time in his last nine starts, then it should be job done.

Should Pepperell miss the cut, the player best placed to take advantage of his misfortune is Scrivener, who would need to finish at least 52nd place or better in order to leapfrog the Englishman.

Fisher, meanwhile, needs to finish 41st or better to have a chance of retaining his place at the top table in European golf next season.

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Russell Knox opened his new PGA Tour campaign with two-under-par 70 in the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur.

The effort, which contained four birdies, left the Scott sitting joint-26th, six shots behind American trio Derek Fathauer, Keegan Bradley and Jason Thomas in Malaysia.

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Ross Kellett is sitting one shot off the clubhouse lead after firing a five-under-par 67 in the first round of the Challenge Tour’s Foshan Open in China.

The Motherwell man was out in 32, four-under, before picking up a fifth birdie of the day at the ninth - his last - to lie just behind Swede Pontus Widegren.

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Falkirk’s Ryan Campbell made the best start out of the five Scots competing in the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Matchroom Sport Tour Championship in Spain.

Picking up four birdies, Campbell opened with a three-under 69 at Desert Springs to sit joint-10th after the opening round in the circuit’s £90,000 finale.

Callum Macaulay (Tulliallan) and Neil Fenwick (Dunbar) both signed for 70s, Clydebank and District’s John Henry had a 73 and Conor O’Neil (Mearns Castle) struggled to a 78.

Four Englishmen - Haydn McCullen, Joe Dean, James Maw and Curtis Griffiths - finished the first day tied for the lead on 67.

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Hopes of a Scottish success in the MENA Tour’s Sahara Kuwait Championship disappeared in the final round in Kuwait City.

Two shots off the lead at the start of the day, Paul Doherty slipped to joint-13th after a closing 72 left him on six-under after 54 holes.

Doherty was leapfrogged on the last day by compatriot Jack McDonald as he signed off wirth a 67 to end up joint-sixth on nine-under, four behind English winner Joe Heraty.

It was an encouraging effort from McDonald as he prepares for the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain next month.

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Daniel Young, the sole Scot in the field, got off to the worst possible start in the Alps Tour’s season-ending event in Italy.

The Perth man ran up a double-bogey 7 at the opening hole in the third-tier circuit’s Grand Final at Miglianico Golf & Country Club and, in the circumstances, did well to salvage a level-par 71.

That left him sitting him in a share of 29th as Englishman Matt Wallace, who has just been signed up by Chubby Chandler, set the pace with a course record-equalling eight-under-par 63.

Having won five times already this season, Wallace is already guaranteed to top the circuit’s Order of Merit.

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Renaissance Club member Neil Henderson recorded a three-shot victory in the fourth East Alliance event of the season at Royal Musselburgh.

He claimed the Ramsay Trophy by carding a four-under 66, an effort that was transformed by a run of six birdies in seven holes from the seven at the East Lothian venue.

It was Henderson’s second win in two days, having also come out on top in an Ayrshire Winter Golf Association event at Dundonald Links thanks to a four-under 68 at next year’s Scottish Open venue.

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Four players - Jim Emslie (Royal Aberdeen), Kamran Zeynalov (Portlethen), John Duff (Newmachar) and Kris Nicol (Dunes Golf Centre) - tied for top spot in the latest North East Alliance event after carding three-under 68s at Peterculter.