Daily Round-Up: Rory Franssen is leading qualifier for SA Amateur

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The Proudfoot Trophy, the prize for leading qualifier in the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship, is still in Scottish hands.

Twelve months after Greig Marchbank picked it up, Rory Franssen’s name is now on the magnificent piece of silverware.

It follows the Inverness teenager holding off one of his compatriots, Craig Ross, to come out on top in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying at George Golf Club.

Three ahead after a superb eight-under 64 on Sunday, Franssen kept his nose in front as he added a 68 to finish on 12-under-par, one ahead of Ross after the Kirkhill man had set the clubhouse target with a flawless 66.

Franssen, a member of the Scottish Under-18 squad who making his debut on South African soil, effectively clinched his victory with an eagle-3 at the 14th. Earlier, he’d bagged four birdies, including three in the opening four holes.

“I’m overwhelmed and so happy to have come out on top,” said Franssen. “I can’t wait for the match play. I’ll just stick to what I’ve been doing already.

“As for the rest, at the start of the week I was just happy to be entered in the competition let alone be the top golfer. It’s a massive boost of confidence for me.”

Three more Scots - Sandy Scott, Calum Fyfe and Scott Gibson - are also through to the match-play phase in an event that has produced a hat-trick of tartan triumphs in the last five years.

Daniel Young (Craigie Hill) lifted the title 12 months ago, emulating a feat achieved by both Troon Welbeck’s Michael Stewart and Leven Golfing Society’s Brian Soutar in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

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The Renaissance Club in East Lothian is to become member-owned and governed after a third share held by the family trust set up by the late Duke of Hamilton was bought out.

The development, which coincides with the club’s tenth anniversary, has been hailed as a “new beginning” by Archerfield Estates Limited, which remains involved in a landlord’s capacity.

“We believe this change of ownership structure allowing our members to become equity participants in the partnership will set the club on a long-term path to create a world-class golf club,” commented Jerry Sarvadi, the club’s founder and CEO.

Invest Archerfield LLC, a US-based Limited Liability Company also founded by Sarvadi and his five brothers, will continue its ownership participation and support.

“The Sarvadi family commitment to this club has been and will remain far more than just an investment but rather a testimony of our dedication to the great game of golf and our love for the home of golf, East Lothian Scotland,” addeed Paul Sarvadi.

“We are very thankful for the ten year partnership with AEL which formed and established the Renaissance Club through some difficult economic times.”

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Grantown-on-Spey amateur Hannah McCook is to tee up alongside leading names on the Ladies European Tour at the upcoming World Ladies Championship in China.

The 22-year-old has been handed a dream sponsors’ invitation for the event, which takes place over the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills from 10-13 March.

“I’m delighted to receive an invite to the World Ladies Championships at Mission Hills, it’s going to be an amazing experience as an amateur,” said McCook, who finished second in the Argentine Women’s Amateur Open in December and competes in this week’s Spanish Amateur.

“It’s a limited field for professionals, so to receive an invite as an amateur is brilliant.”

With fellow Scots like Pamela Pretswell, Sally Watson and Kylie Walker in the field, McCook hopes to benefit from the exposure of playing in a professional event.

The championship will retain its unique three-in-one format. As well as a 72-hole individual stroke play competition, there is a professional team championship run concurrently. The tournament will also include an individual amateur event, played over 72 holes of stroke play.

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Bonnyrigg-based Jamie McLeary is hoping his European Tour campaign will now include an event that allows him to sleep in his own bed.

It is certainly a possibility following last week’s announcement that the Paul Lawrie Match Play will be held at Archerfield Links in August rather than Murcar Links for for a second year running.

“I’m especially looking forward to coming back to play in Europe for the summer,” said McLeary after ending his phase of the season with a top-30 finish in the ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia on Sunday.

“The highlights will obviously be the Irish and Scottish Open, plus I’d love to play at Archerfield. I’m hoping the Olympics being on the week after will allow me to play in Paul’s event. I’ll be asking for an invitation either way, seeing as I’m local.”

In six starts so far on his return to the European Tour, McLeary made three cuts, including his first top-10 on the circuit in the Tshwane Open.

“The first chunk of season has gone okay,” he added. “I didn’t exceed expectations but didn’t do too badly, either.

“I love being back out on Tour again. Every shot is important, so your focus has to be good.

“I’m, looking forward to rest of season now. One of my friends said to me that I’ll have two or three chances to win this year and it’s just whether I take it or not. I’m hoping he’s right. Only time will tell, I guess.”

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Team Europe has been named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for January following their enthralling and dominant 18½-5½ Asia victory in the EurAsia Cup.

It was an impressive and gratifying performance for Darren Clarke to witness, as the Northern Irishman played the role of captain for the first time in his career.

“I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of Team Europe. They all played a vital role in our victory, so they have all contributed to this victory,” said Clarke.