Bad luck plays part in Scots’ nightmare start in World Cup

Duncan Stewart hits an approach during the opening round of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images
Duncan Stewart hits an approach during the opening round of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images
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Bad luck contributed to Scotland getting off to a nightmare start in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Australia.

Russell Knox and Duncan Stewart are sitting last of the 28 teams in the $8 million event in Melbourne after stumbling to a six-over-par 78 in the first round at Kingston Heath.

The effort left them sitting nine shots behind leaders Spain, but Keir McNicoll, who is caddying for Stewart, reckons that didn’t reflect how the Scottish duo had played.

“It seems a bit harsh,” said McNicoll, writing in his blog for Gullane Pro Shop, where he works for Alasdair Good.

“Although Russell and Duncan will be the first to admit they didn’t play their best, the conditions were very tricky and they definitely didn’t get many breaks out there.

“I know landing in divots and being plugged in bunkers is part of the game but sometimes you just need things to go your way when your not playing your best. But that’s golf….”

Trying to become Scotland’s second winners after Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren pulled off the feat in 2007, Knox and Stewart started with a birdie-3 - Knox rolled in a 20-footer following a fine 7-iron approach from his team-mate - before adding three consecutive pars.

They dropped their first shot of the day at the fifth before taking a 6 at the par-5 eighth to be out in 35 in the company of Irish duo Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell.

The back nine, and in particular the final seven holes, was a stretch to forget for the Scots, starting with two more dropped shots at par-5s - the 12th and 14th.

That spillage was followed by a double-bogey 5 at the 15th before a bogey at the last left them behind Malaysia and the Phillipines at the foot of the scoreboard.

“The turning point and momentum changing putt came at the 11th hole, where Russell was faced with 10ft putt for birdie to get the team back to even par but, unfortunately, it lipped out,” added McNicoll.