Daily round-up: Scottish trio still in Australian Amateur

Grant Forrest. Picture: Getty

Grant Forrest. Picture: Getty

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Scotland will have three representatives in the last 32 of the Australian Amateur Championship after Connor Syme, Jack McDonald and Grant Forrest all won their first-round matches at The Metropolitan in Melbourne.

After play had been halted on Wednesday due to soaring temperatures then being abandoned, the trio returned along with compatriot Ewen Ferguson early this morning to complete their second round in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying.

Drumoig Golf Centre player Syme signed for a 71 to finish joint-24th on level-par, one better than Ferguson after the Bearsden player dropped four shots coming home in his 74 to sit in a share of 37th spot.

McDonald, from Barassie, progressed in joint-42nd after a brace of 73s while Forrest completed a 100 per cent success rate for the Scots by finishing tied for 56th on four-over after the Craigielaw player battled hard over the closing holes for a 77.

Syme, a semi-finalist in the 2014 Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush, finished as the leading Scot among four qualifiers before beating home player Mitchell Smith 4&3.

“I was really pleased with how this morning went in getting through to the match-play,” admitted the 20-year-old.

“I was happy with my position of -1 thru 12 yesterday as it was the conditions had been really tough.

“It was strange knowing exactly what the target number as normally you just get into the zone when playing. But, after coming in off the course a couple of times due to the heat and storms, you couldn’t miss the cut line score!

“So keeping one shot at a time this morning was key and I managed that. My putter had been hot the previous day and that continued into my first-round match. It was good fun, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.”

Walker Cup team-mates McDonald (Barassie) and Forrest (Craigielaw) also progressed with victories over Australian players, beating Jordan Ayre 3&1 and Kevin Yuan 3&2 respectively.

“I feel as if my game is in pretty decent shape considering its early on in the year,” said McDonald after his 3&1 success. “It was really windy today and I managed to stick to my game plan and stayed patient. Hopefully I can carry it onto tomorrow.”

Forrest, the beaten finalistin the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie last year, claimed a notable scalp with his 3&2 win as Yuan reached the semi-finals in this event 12 months ago.

“I holed about an eight-footer to get into the match-play,” said Forrest after his won over one of last year’s semi-finalists. “It gave me some momentum going into my match in the afternoon and I played solid, making some good up and downs and a couple of nice putts went in, too.”

While disappointed that he ended the day

Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson was the odd man out, but had no complaints after suffering a 5&3 defeat at the hands of Welshman Evan Griffith.

“Didn’t play great and doesn’t help when your opponent is on fire - hats off,” wrote the Scot on Twitter.

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Motherwell man Ross Kellett started his 2016 campaign with a top-10 finish in a 54-hole event on the Gecko Tour on the Costa del Sol.

The former Scottish international carded rounds of 69, 74 and 71 at Los Naranjos for a one-under-par total.

He finished joint-sixth, six shots behind the winner, Englishman Luke Johnson.

“I’m spending a few months down here playing and practising,” said Kellett, “I play to play at the least the next four events on the Gecko Tour.

“I will be playing on the Challenge Tour later on in the year and my category will get me more starts than last year.”

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Scottish duo Clarke Lutton and Paul Docherty both suffered disappointment as their Asian Tour card bids were derailed after they both missed the halfway cut in the circuit’s Qualfying School final in Hua Hin.

Aberdeen-born Lutton fell three shots short after rounds of 72 and 74, the latter including a costly double-bogey 6 at the 14th in an event being held at Springfield Royal Country Club and Imperial Lakeview Golf Club.

“I hit the ball fantastic today in fairly tough afternoon conditions but hit one bad shot that cost me, sadly,” he said.

“My plans now are to probably play a full season on the Asian Development Tour along with a few events back in the UK.”

Doherty, a former Scottish Boys’ champion from Kilmarnock, missed out by six shots after following his opening 70 with a 79.

Both players will now turn their attention to events on the European Tour’s Desert Swing. Lutton has secured an invitation for the Qatar Masters while Docherty is in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic through his endevours on the MENA Tour last season.

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