Daily Round-Up: Catriona Matthew one off clubhouse lead in California

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Catriona Matthew came flying out of the blocks in the first round of the ANA Inspiration, the opening major of the 2016 season, at Rancho Mirage in California.

The 46-year-old carded a four-under-par 68 at Mission Hills Country Club to sit one off the clubhouse lead, held by Japan’s Ai Miyazato.

Matthew, the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open champion, has traditionally performed well in this event, finishing second in 2007 and recording a total of 10 top-20s.

Starting at the tenth, she stormed to the turn in four-under 32 thanks to birdies at the 11th, 15th, 16th and 18th.

The Scottish No 1 then made two 2s on her back nine to sit as Miyazato’s closest challenger among the early starters along with another Japanese player, Shiho Oyama, and South African Lee-Anne Pace.

Matthew’s eye-catching effort left her sitting ahead of Lydia Ko after the world No 1 and title favourite opened with a two-under-par 70.

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Clydeway Golf’s James Steven finished first among 23 qualifiers from the PGA EuroPro Tour Qualifying School stage-one event at Haggs Castle, where a second-round 65 gave him finish a nine-under 135 total.

A shot back was Clydebank & District’s John Henry (69-67) while Zack Saltman (Archerfield Links) finished third on 137 (69-68).

Also among those to progress to next week’s 54-hole final at Frilford Heath in Surrey was 2006 Scottish Amateur champion Kevin Alpine, who finished fourth on 138 (70-68).

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Michele Thomson was the top Scottish performer in the first round of the Terre Blance Ladies Open, the opening event of the LET Access Series in France.

The former Curtis Cup player posted a two-under-par 71 to sit joint-seventh, four behind the pacesetter, Spanish amateur Luna Sobron.

Laura Murray opened with a 75, six better than Jane Turner while Scottish amateur duo Hannah McCook and Gabrielle Macdonald opened with 78 and 80 respectively.

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Today’s final of the Scottish Student Team Championship will be between defending champions Stirling and Strathclyde at Lossiemouth.

Stirling booked their place in the title showdown with a 10-5-1.5 win over the Highlands and Islands 10.5-1.5 while Strathclyde were 8-4 winners over St Andrews.

Stirling’s Gemma Batty has already claimed her second title of the week in the women’s events, having followed up a stroke-play triumph by beating team-mate Chloe Goadby 3&1 in the match-play final.

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Winners over Wales on the opening day, Scotland were brought back down to earth as they lost 8.5-3.5 to hosts Ireland in the Under-16 Boys’ Quadrangular event at Hilton Templepatrick.

Scotland face the Netherlands, who have two wins out of two, in their final match at the Northern Ireland venue.