David Inglis, the European coach, will have at least one Scot in his team for this summer’s Arnold Palmer Cup after Inverness teenager Rory Franssen secured automatic qualification.
The 18-year-old, who is a freshman at Missouri, earned his selection for the college equivalent of the Ryder Cup on the back of some strong performances in the US, notably his second place-finish in a recent event in Florida.
“I’m excited to have a Scot on the team and feel delighted for Rory,” said Inglis, who was a member of the first European team in the event in 2003.
“He’s had a great start to his college career at Missouri and came very close to winning the Gator Invitational last month.”
Franssen is the first player from Missouri to play in the event, which is set to see Europe switch to an international team in 2018.
Inglis’ team also includes three Englishmen - David Wicks (Jacksonville), Harry Ellis (Florida State) and Richard Mansell (Nova Southeastern) - as well as an Irishman in Stuart Grehan (Maynooth).
Mansell was Inglis’ pick in a side that also includes Swedes Hannes Ronneblad and Fredrik Nilehn (both Texas Tech) and Norwegians Kristoffer Ventura and Viktor Hovland (both (Oklahoma State).
A 10th player for the European team will be named on 4 April after the R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament.
“(This event) is something (these players) are going to remember for the rest of their lives,” said Inglis’, a former Walker Cup player who is now one of the top US college coaches at Northwestern.
Stanford’s Maverick McNealy heads the players in the US team, which will be hoping to make home advantage count at Atlanta Athletic Club in June.
Martin Laird, the 2011 winner, is facing a battle to make the cut after an error-strewn opening round in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida.
The Scot slumped to a five-over-par 77, 10 shots behind the leaders, to sit joint-103rd in the event’s first staging since Palmer passed away last September.
The bulk of the damage on Laird’s card came at the end of his opening nine, running up a double-bogey 5 at the 17th then dropping three more shots at the 18th.
Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick and Argentinean Emiliano Grillo sit at the top of the leaderboard following matching 67s.
Another European, Fitzpatrick’s compatriot Paul Casey, is a shot behind on four-under along with former US Open champion Lucas Glover and Charley Hoffman.
Defending champion Jason Day opened with a two-under 70, as did Scottish Open champion Alex Noren and Francesco Molinari.
World No 3 Rory McIlroy is sittiting tied for 58th after he had to settle for a two-over 74, which included a double-bogey 6 at the 11th as well as a drop shot at the last.
Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen got her 2017 LPGA campaign off to a promising start with a four-under-par 68 in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix.
The effort left Allen, who topped the LET Order of Merit last season, sitting in joint-32nd at the end of a low-scoring day in Arizona.
Five players are tied for the lead on 64 - American trio Katie Burnett, Sandra Changkija and Stacy Lewis, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Korea’s In Gee Chun.
Maintaining her recent good form, former US Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie is among five players on seven-under.
Twelve-time PGA Tour winner Steve Stricker makes his Champions Tour debut today in the Tucson Conquistadores Classic.
Colin Montgomerie is skipping the event, but Stricker’s rivals at the start of a new chapter in his career include Charles Schwab Cup leader Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer.
Also in the field are 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and Philip Price, the Welshman who shared top spot in the Champions Tour Qualifying School in Florida at the end of last year.
Two new members have joined the board of Scottish Golf, which also has a new president in Don Bremner.
Craigielaw member Keith Macdonald and Addi Shamash, a former Scotland internationalist, have been elected to the unified body’s board to provide additional expertise.
Macdonald is senior marketing manager at Tesco Bank, while Shamash is is a respected dual-qualified lawyer with HBJ Gateley.
“The appointments of Keith and Addi reflect the importance of experience and continuity, combined with a fresh perspective across a number of areas,” said Eleanor Cannon, the chair of Scottish Golf.
“Collectively, I’m excited with the hunger and ability of the new Board and I believe we can continue to work hard, alongside our new chief executive Blane Dodds, to help grow the game and see our clubs thrive.”
Ranfurly Castle member Bremner, a retired international banker who has a wealth of golf refereeing experience, succeeds Jim Burns as president.
Elizabeth Taylor (Prestonfield) is the new senior vice president, with Malcolm Mitchell appointed as junior vice president.
Jack McDonald finished joint-fourth and Grant Forrest also made the top 10 in the MENA Tour’s Casablanca Open.
McDonald closed with a 70 for a six-under-par 207 total, picking up a cheque for Euros 2,188 while a second successive 67 for 209 lifted Forrest to joint-ninth at the finish.
Spaniard Leo Lilja beat England’s Luke Joy at the sixth extra hole in a play-off to claim the title after the pair had tied on 205.
Paul Lawrie and his eldest son, Craig, lost by one hole in the last 16 on their debut in the Sunningdale Foursomes.
They bowed out after having to give 10 shots to Sweden’s Linn Grant and England’s Martha Lewis.
Writing on Twitter, Lawrie said: “Both girls did really well, but 10 shots! Come on, Sunningdale! I’m an old man ...... really enjoyed the week.”