Believing a four-strong travelling contingent has got rid of some ring rust, national coach Ian Rae is feeling “optimistic” about Scottish hopes heading into the Australian Amateur Championship starting in Melbourne tomorrow.
Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest finished as the leading player from the quartet in the Australian Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne, claiming a share of 17th in an event won by American Aaron Wise.
Along with Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden), and Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock [Barassie]) and Connor Syme (Drumoig), he now turns his attention to the Australian Amateur, which is being played at The Metropolitan and the Kingswood Course of the Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club.
Offering a spot in the Emirates Australian Open to the winner, it gets underway tomorrow with the first of two stroke-play qualifying rounds, from which the top 64 players will progress to the match-play stage from Thursday through to Sunday at The Metropolitan.
“I thought the boys played quite well at Royal Melbourne and were just a little ring rusty,” said Rae, who is accompanying the group on a trip that marks the start of a battle to secure three spots in the Scotland side for the Eisenhower Trophy later in the year.
“The course was set up super tough and it was made even more difficult by the flags being in some tricky positions. Overall, I thought it was very good and I’m optimistic about the Australian Amateur.”
Elsewhere, Scotland will have two representatives among the hopefuls for the Asian Tour Qualifying School starting in Thailand on Wednesday. It follows Aberdeen-born Clarke Lutton successfully negotiating his first-stage test to join the exempt Paul Doherty in the line-up at Imperial Lakeview and Springfield Royal in Hua Hin.