8am Round-Up: '˜No reason why Scots can't win World Cup'
Duncan Stewart is quietly confident that Scotland can become World Cup winners for just the second time in Australia this week.
Stewart joins forces with Russell Knox in the ISPS Handa-sponsored event, which gets underway at Kingston Heath in Melbourne tomorrow.
The Scots are out last along with Irish duo Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell in the first-day foursomes as the $8 million event reverts to its old format.
“It is going to be absolutely amazing,” admitted Grantown-on-Spey man Stewart of teaming up with his fellow Highlander and former Jacksonville University team-mate.
“I always feel so proud to be Scottish and to get a chance to try and win the World Cup for Scotland, as only Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren have achieved in the event’s history, is unbelieveable.
“Russell, as anyone who knows him will tell you, isn’t one of those guys where it’s all about him. He’s a good lad. We’ll feel really comfortable and we’ll be trying our hearts out to win. And there’s no reason why we can’t do that.
“I’m playing quite well and Russell is playing fantastic. If we can gel, as we have done in the past, then I think we’ll have a good chance.”
Seven Scots are in the field for the inaugural Qatar Ladies Open, which gets underway today in Doha.
The penultimate event on the 2016 LET schedule features Carly Booth, Kylie Walker, Vikki Laing, Kesley Macdonald, Pamela Pretswell, Iona Stephen and Laura Murray.
Edinburgh-based Beth Allen, who tops the Order of Merit, is skipping the event as she prepares for the upcoming final stage of the LPGA Tour Qualifying School.
Sally Watson and Gemma Dryburgh are absentees in the UAE for the same reason.
The European Tour’s “new Ivor Robson” is another Scot.
Alastair Scott, who hails from Inverness, has been appointed as the circuit’s official starter, taking over the role from Moffat man Robson following his retiral after a 41-year stint. Scott, who used to work in sports production for the BBC, has secured the post after acting as starter at various men’s and women’s events over the last 15 years, He will now be on the first tee at all European Tour events sponsored by Rolex, including the seven in the new Rolex Series.
Matthew Fitzpatrick has jumped 22 spots to 29th in the world rankings on the back of his DP World Tour Championship triumph in Dubai on Sunday.
Russell Knox has dropped a place to 19th, with Martin Laird, the next highest-placed Scot, slipping nine spots to 142nd.
Richie Ramsay is 211th, down three positions, while Marc Warren has dropped six spots to 213th.