Seven Scottish players have been forced to withdraw from the European Individual Amateur Championship starting today in Estonia after their clubs went missing at Amsterdam Airport.
Ten Scots were due to tee up in the event, one of the biggest tournaments on the international calendar, but only Anglo-Scot Ryan Lumsden was certain to be flying the Saltire and that’s because he flew direct to Estonia from England.
Nine others flew from Edinburgh to Amsterdam on Monday morning with KLM and then onto Tallinn with airBaltic only to discover their clubs hadn’t made the second flight.
Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest and Liam Johnston from Dumfries & County are seeking to play in today’s first round by borrowing clubs from Irish players on other sides of the draw.
But, with no sign of their clubs making it to the remote Estonian Golf Club in time, Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden), Connor Syme (Drumoig), Nairn’s Sandy Scott, Robert MacIntyre from Glencruitten, Craig Howie (Peebles), Cawder’s Jamie Savage and Kirkhill’s Craig Ross have all been forced to pull out.
“It’s the strangest thing I’ve seen in my whole career, with all nine sets of clubs not turning up, so we have no clubs, shoes, balls or waterproofs,” said national coach Ian Rae on the Scottish Golf website.
“If you lose two sets from nine then that is bad, but nine is just nonsense. It’s absolutely bizarre.
“There have been a number of instances this year of golfers losing their clubs on flights and it’s a great shame for the guys who were really looking forward to challenging for the title in Estonia.”
Deer Park specialist Greig Hutcheon wasted no time in racing to the top of the leaderboard in the EMTEC Masters, a Tartan Tour Order of Merit event, at the Livingston venue.
Bidding to land the title for the fourth year in a row and fifth time overall, the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo player opened the 36-hole event with a blistering eight-under-par 64.
Even by Hutcheon’s high standards, an effort that contained an eagle and seven birdies, including five in a row from the ninth, was outstanding, with his only blemish being a bogey at the 16th.
The 43-year-old, who has already won the Northern Open on the Scottish circuit this season, holds a two-shot lead over Clydeway Golf’s Paul O’Hara heading into today’s second and final round.
Defending champions Scotland ran out comfortable 10.5-4.5 winners over Wales on the opening day of the Boys’ Home Internationals at Ballyliffin in County Donegal.
The Scots laid the foundations for their victory with a 4-1 win in the morning foursomes before also dominating the singles.
Inverness teenger Rory Franssen won his match 8&6 while other big victories for the Scots was delivered by Australian-based Ben Ferguson and Carluke’s Graeme Greer.
England beat Ireland 10-5 in the other match on the opening day, with the Scots facing Ireland today.
As new Scottish champion George Duncan waits to find out if he’ll be playing in the same event, England have included their title winner, Yorkshireman Dan Brown, in the team for next week’s Home Internationals at Nairn.
Brown, who triumphed at Ganton last weekend, joins Adam Chapman, Will Enefer, Harry Hall, Josh Hilleard, Marco Penge, Alfie Plant, Gian-Marco Petrozzi, Ashton Turner, James Walker and Jack Yule in a side that will be aiming to regain a title last claimed by England in 2013.