David Law’s decision to gamble on a near 9,000-mile journey from Aberdeen to Pretoria has paid off after getting a late spot in this week’s Tshwane Open.
The welcome opportunity will be the 24-year-old’s first appearance in a European Tour event since the rescheduld Madeira Islands Open last August and just his seventh in total on that circuit since 2010.
“I was told I was first reserve on Sunday and decided to travel yesterday,” said Law, who will join five of his compatriots - David Drysdale, Andrew McArthur, Jamie McLeary, Scott Henry and Bradley Neil - in the line-up at Pretoria Country Club for the £800,000 event starting tomorrow.
“I only found out after arriving that I was in, so it’s great that the gamble of coming down has paid off.”
Law, a two-time Scottish Amateur champion who is mentored by Paul Lawrie, has been preparing for the start of the new Challenge Tour campaign in Kenya next month.
He returned to the Pro Golf Tour, scene of two victories early in his professional career, to get some competition under his belt in Egypt last month, finishing second and eighth.
“It was getting out there to play and get competitive again and looking forward to the week ahead now,” added Law, who finished 70th on the Challenge Tour money-list last season before finishing joint-37th at the European Tour Qualifying School.
Drysdale’s decision to play this week instead of heading home to recharge his batteries after the Desert Swing is two-fold. The 40-year-old is hoping to add to an impressive record in South Africa while, at the same time, secure a spot in next week’s Maybank Championship in Malaysia.
Fifth reserve at the moment, the Scot has seen his chances of getting into that improve since leaving Dubai on Sunday, but a top-10 finish this week would spare him any agony.
Neil is taking in two events on his latest trip to South Africa, having secured an invitation for this event and also next week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt.
Whitekirk Golf & Country Club in East Lothian is “temporarily closed” due to “unforseen circumstances” but expects to re-open this month.
The shock development was confirmed on the club’s website following reports that the power had been turned off last week after guests were asked to leave.
In a message to members underneath a message about the temporary closure, general manager Russell McIntyre explained that membership fees paid by direct debit would be taken from accounts as normal.
But he added: “They will be returned and the restof February, when the facilities are open, will be complimentary.”
Paul Lawrie was hired to re-design the course in 2013 but that project fell through, as did a plan to build a hotel in a bid to transform into “one of the leading golf destinations in East Lothian, Scotland, and the United Kingdom”.
Whitekirk opened in 1995 and has staged events on both the Mastercard Tour and PGA EuroPro Tour.
Ewen Ferguson’s stint in South Africa with the Scotland squad has been curtailed due to family reasons.
The Walker Cup player’s hasty departure came after he finished joint-fifth in last week’s South African Stroke-Play Championship at Blue Valley.
Ferguson had shared the lead heading into the final round before claiming top spot outright with 10 holes to play before falling back as Irishman Jack Hume claimed the title.
“I played well the whole week,” said Ferguson, “In the last round, I got a few bad breaks, lipped out with a couple putts and a had ball in the water on 10.
“I don’t feel like I dealt with it right mentally, but I was in the last group in the last round again and I’m always learning.
“My game feels great and I am confident that wins are just around the corner.”
Nine of his compatriots, including Grant Forrest, Jack McDonald and Connor Syme, are in the African Amateur Stroke Play starting today at Leopard Creek.
In a fitting reward for securing full playing rights for the 2016 Ladies European Tour, Kelsey MacDonald and Gemma Dryburgh have earned support from a Scottish Government-backed initiative.
The duo are to receive help from Scottish Golf Support Limited along with Sally Watson, who is set for her third season on the LET but still fulfils the criterion of being a young professional in the early stages of her career.
Launched in 2010 thanks to a £1 million investment through sportscotland, it is the second year running that the SGSL board has deemed that no male player merited support.
“We are hopeful the support provided during the 2016 season will help the LET players continue their excellent progress,” said chairman Graeme Simmers.
“While a number of others were considered, we believe the three players selected best demonstrated the key characteristics for successful progression and fully utilise the support team around them, coupled with a real willingness to engage with us.”
Dairy workers Grahame Lockhart and Scott Gould were the cream of the crop as Torrance Park earned a place in the history books.
Thanks to Lockhart and Gould coming out on top in the Belhaven Best Scottish Club Handicap final in Turkey, the Lanarkshire club won Scottish Golf’s first overseas event.
The victory came at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, the Belek venue that is taking over as the new host venue for the Turkish Airlines Open this November.
In an event featuring 20 pairings, Lockhart and Gould won on a countback after finishing on the same fourball better ball two-over-par total as North-East club Kintore, represented by Brian Gilbert and Robbie Lawrence.
Lockhart, a 43-year-old who plays off 19, and nine-handicapper Gould, 33, only joined as members at Torrance Park last year but were worthy winners, having booked their spot in Turkey by triumphing in a regional qualifier at Uphall.
Craig Ronald (Carluke) and Jason McCreadie (Largs) joined forces to win the latest PGA in Scotland Winter Series Fourball at Glasgow Gailes.
An eight-under-par 63 gave the pair a one-shot victory over two pairings - brothers Paul and Steven O’Hara (Clydeway Golf) and Mark Kerr (Marriott Dalmahoy) and David Patrick (Kingsfield).