SCOTTISH golf’s recent resurgence will be reflected by next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona boasting a three-strong tartan contingent for only the second time in the event’s 15-year
SCOTTISH golf’s recent resurgence will be reflected by next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona boasting a three-strong tartan contingent for only the second time in the event’s 15-year history.
Paul Lawrie, the world No 32, will be making his sixth appearance in the knock-out event and will have two debutants, Stephen Gallacher and Richie Ramsay, for company in next Wednesday’s opening round at Dove Mountain.
On the back of his leap of more than 50 places for winning the Dubai Desert Classic, Gallacher jumped another three spots to 57th in the latest rankings to safely secure his spot in the 64-strong line-up, which Ramsay also made comfortably enough despite dropping two spots to 61st.
The seeded draw will not be made until next Monday and tenth-ranked Phil Mickelson is expected to reject his spot for the second year running in favour of a family holiday but, as things stand, all three Scots are set for tasty opening ties.
Gallacher would be up against Masters champion Bubba Watson; Ramsay would face world No 5 Justin Rose and Lawrie would lock horns with one of his Ryder Cup-winning team-mates, Francesco Molinari.
On the same basis, world No 1 Rory McIlroy would take on fellow Irishman Shane Lowry, who will be awaiting confirmation from Mickelson with eager anticipation as the man lying 65th in the rankings.
Lowry is 0.0002 ranking points ahead of Swede Fredrik Jacobson, who needed to be seventh on his own at Pebble Beach to earn a Match Play place, but finished in a tie for seventh when American Patrick Reed holed from nearly 12 feet on the final green.
The only other time Scotland has been represented by three players in the event was in 2001, when Lawrie was joined at La Costa in California by Andrew Coltart and Gary Orr.
That was the only time in the event’s first six stagings that Colin Montgomerie failed to qualify, though the eight-time European No 1 was the home of golf’s main standard bearer in it with eight appearances.
Latest leading positions in the world golf rankings: 1 Rory McIlroy 12.03pts, 2 Tiger Woods 9.03, 3 Luke Donald 7.58, 4 Brandt Snedeker 6.91, 5 Justin Rose 6.44, 6 Louis Oosthuizen 6.44, 7 Adam Scott 5.85, 8 Lee Westwood 5.50, 9 Bubba Watson 5.28, 10 Phil Mickelson 5.16, 11 Ian Poulter 5.04, 12 Jason Dufner 4.97, 13 Steve Stricker 4.85, 14 Sergio Garcia 4.80, 15 Keegan Bradley 4.79, 16 Charl Schwartzel 4.72, 17 equal Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson 4.69, 19 Graeme McDowell 4.43, 20 Peter Hanson 4.38. Other leading Europeans: 27 Martin Kaymer, 30 Jamie Donaldson, 31 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, 32 Paul Lawrie, 34 Carl Pettersson, 35 Francesco Molinari, 39 Nicolas Colsaerts, 40 Thorbjorn Olesen, 44 Matteo Manassero, 48 Padraig Harrington, 49 Thomas Bjorn, 50 Alexander Noren, 51 David Lynn, 52 Henrik Stenson, 57 Stephen Gallacher, 58 Rafael Cabrera Bello, 60 Chris Wood, 61 Richie Ramsay, 63 Marcel Siem, 65 Shane Lowry, 66 Fredrik Jacobson.