8am Round-Up: Duncan Stewart fires 65 in Australia
The Grantown-on-Spey man shrugged off five consecutive missed cuts to post a superb seven-under-par 65 at Lake Karrinyup.
The flawless effort saw him jump up 70 places on the leaderboard after he’d opened with a level-par 72 in the innovative event.
The top 24 after the third round progress to a match-play phase involving ties over six holes, with the top eight receiving byes into the second round.
Stewart, who lives in Edinburgh and is attached to Turnhouse, sparked his score with a run of four birdies from the 14th to turn in 32.
He then added further gains on the third and seventh before holing a lengthy putt on the ninth, his last hole.
“I played lovely and holed a few putts,” said the 32-year-old, who partnered Scottish No 1 Russell Knox in last year’s World Cup of Golf in Melbourne. “I played really solid yesterday but it was tricky in the wind.
“It’s always good to make the cut and hopefully I can now finish inside the top 24 or top eight then anything can happen.”
Stewart was sitting six shots off the clubhouse lead, held by David Bransdon after the Australian carded a second-round 64.
Scottish duo Gemma Dryburgh and Michele Thomson have both made the cut on their LPGA Tour debuts in the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open.
Dryburgh was the top tartan performer in the second round at Royal Adelaide, signing for a bogey-free four-under-par 69.
That lifted her to four-under for the tournament, sitting alongside Thomson after she added a 74 to her opening 68.
The pair have done themselves proud in the star-studded event, having only secured their spots last weekend through the ALPG Tour money-list.
For once, it won’t be Catriona Matthew flying the Saltire heading into the weekend in one of the game’s top events.
After rounds of 76 and 75, the North Berwick woman made an early exit on this occasion, 12 months after she finished in the top 10.
As overnight leader Katherine Kirk slipped back following a 74, another home hope, Sarah Jane Smith, took over at the top of the leaderboard.
A 67 for a nine-under-par total put her a shot ahead of Sweden’s Caroline Headwell, American duo Lizette Salas and Marissa Steen and Pornanong Phatlum from Thailand.
Dustin Johnson made a fine start to his bid to end the weekend as world number one by firing a first-round 66 at the Genesis Open.
Johnson reached the clubhouse on five-under par, two shots off the lead, as he chases a victory that could see him leap from third to first in the rankings.
For that to happen, current number one Jason Day has to finish worse than a three-way tie for third - and the Australian ended day one down in joint 74th, sitting on level par through 16 holes as darkness suspended play early in California.
Martin Laird is sitting joint-51st after a 70, six shots behind leader Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson.
Doug McGuigan put the Saltire on a leaderboard in South Africa as Walker Cup team-mates Jack McDonald and Ewen Ferguson got their seasons off to promising starts along with a third Scot, Daniel Young, in Egypt.
McGuigan was born in Durban and spent part of his life in Canada but has never thought of himself as anything other than Scottish due to his father, who played football for Falkirk, being a native of Alloa.
The 46-year-old has played on the Sunshine Tour for most of his career, winning six times on the South African circuit, and has been joined in this week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt by a handful of compatriots, including Paul Lawrie.
McGuigan’s six-under-par opening effort left him sitting joint-third, two shots behind Laurie Canter, while Lawrie, who is being partnered in the team event by his youngest son, Michael, also has the Englishman in his sights after a 69, one more than Lee Westwood.
Always keen to see young Scots do well, Lawrie was quick to use Twitter after his own round to praise McDonald, Young and Ferguson after they all signed off with 70s to secure top-10 finishes in the Ein Bay Open, the first event on this season’s Alps Tour, at Sokhna in Egypt.
McDonald and Young finished joint-sixth, just ahead of Ferguson, in an event won by Frenchman Julien Brun, who is being tipped to follow in the footsteps of his stablemate, big-hitting Belgian Thomas Pieters.
Peebles player Craig Howie finished strongly in the Sanlam Cape Province Open Championship, an ameteur event at Kingswood in South Africa.
The former Scottish Boys’ champion closed with rounds of 70 and 69 for a seven-under-par 281 total to end up joint-seventh.
South African Garrick Higgo beat compatriot Brandon Cloete and Irishman Robin Dawson in a play-off to claim the title after the trio had finished on 278.
Former Walker Cup man Wallace Booth secured a top-25 finish in the Mediter Real Estate Masters, the opening event on the ECCO Tour Winter Series, at PGA Catalunya.
Now attached to Pitlochry, Booth carded a closing 69 for a one-under-par 211 total, finishing joint-23rd in an event won by German Florian Fritsch.