Scotland face Portugal in GolfSixes quarter-finals

Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren enjoyed a winning start in the innovative GolfSixes in St Albans. Picture: Getty Images
Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren enjoyed a winning start in the innovative GolfSixes in St Albans. Picture: Getty Images
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Scotland will face Portugal in Sunday’s quarter-finals in the inaugural GolfSixes after producing some of the day’s best golf in the group phase at the Centurion Club in St Albans.

Represented by Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren, the Scots recorded 3-2 wins over Belgium and Spain in their opening two matches to advance to the last eight with a game to spare.

The GolfSixes mascot watches Dutchman Reinier Saxton line up a putt at the Centurion Club in St Albans. Picture: Getty Images

The GolfSixes mascot watches Dutchman Reinier Saxton line up a putt at the Centurion Club in St Albans. Picture: Getty Images

Having been a combined eight-under in registering those victories, the tartan duo were then three-under against Thailand in their final match.

However, they lost that 3-1 as second seeds Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot five-under at the Hertfordshire venue.

The Scots finished in second spot in Group B, meaning they will now face Group C winners Portugal in the quarter-finals on Sunday morning.

“Job done,” said Ramsay, a three-time European Tour winner. “We’re through to the second day and anything can happen.”

A shot clock led to American Paul Peterson being hit with a shot penalty on day one of the GolfSixes. Picture: Getty Images

A shot clock led to American Paul Peterson being hit with a shot penalty on day one of the GolfSixes. Picture: Getty Images

Earlier, the Scots finished with an eagle to beat Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Detry in their first match of the €1million event.

“Our first experience doesn’t get any better,” said a smiling Warren after converting an opportunity that had been set up by Ramsay finding the green with a rescue from 245 yards.

The putt was close to being for a half after Detry hit the hole with a chip from through the back of the green and couldn’t believe his eyes as the ball spun away.

It was the third time in the match that the Scots had got their noses in front, having won the first and third, both with pars, only for the Belgians to hit back with birdies at the second and fourth.

“I think among us all, we were six or seven-under,” said Ramsay as he highlighted the quality of golf in the match.

The victory earned the Scots a place in the record books after the opening three matches all ended in draws on a cold morning.

They were three-under for six holes in that success and produced even better figures as they followed it up with an equally impressive win over Spain.

Ramsay and Warren finished five-under in that match, helped by another eagle, this one coming at the third.

“We were in the Group of Death and knew we would have to play well to finish in the top two,” said Warren. “To qualify before our final game was definitely a bonus.”

Now Portuguese pair Ricardo Gouvia, who topped the Challenge Tour money-list two years ago, and former St Omer Open winner Jose-Filipe Lima stand between the Scots and the last four.

The event is aimed at attracting a new audience to the game, with innovations including a shortened format, pyrotechnics, a shot clock and walk-on music.

“The whole atmosphere was quite relaxed and there was a wee bit of banter between the teams,” said Warren, who is bidding to repeat a 2007 World Cup success achieved with Colin Montgomerie.

“Once you are over the ball, I suppose it’s just like a normal event because, at the end of the day, you want to perform well.

“But, between shots, we are definitely chatting and interacting more and trying to enjoy ourselves a wee bit. It might do both of us some good to take that attitude into a normal event.”

Hosts England, represented by Chris Wood and Andy Sullivanm beat the Netherlands 4-0 in their final match to progress.

Results

Session 1

England 2 India 2, Denmark 1 The Netherlands 1, Thailand 1 Spain 1, Scotland 3 Belgium 2, Australia 1 USA 0, Wales 0 Portugal 4, South Africa 0 Italy, 0 Sweden 2, France 3

Session 2

England 0 Denmark 0; The Netherlands 2 India 1, Thailand 2 Belgium 1, Spain 2 Scotland 3, Wales 1 USA 1, Australia 0 Portugal 4, France 2 Italy 2, South Africa 1 Sweden 2

Session 3

Denmark 1 India 0, England 4 The Netherlands 0, Belgium 2 Spain 1, Thailand 3 Scotland 1, Australia 2 Wales 1, USA 1 Portugal 0, Sweden 0 Italy 1, South Africa 0 France 1

Quarter-final ties

12.05 England v Italy, 12.20 Denmark v France, 12.35 Thailand v Australia, 12.50 Scotland v Portugal