Craig Ross eyeing card spot in Newmachar Challenge

Craig Ross has a Challenge Tour card in his sights.
Craig Ross has a Challenge Tour card in his sights.
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Kirkhill’s Craig Ross will be hoping for a strong performance in the Newmachar Challenge, the penultimate event on this season’s PGA EuroPro Tour.

Ross, who won the Clipper Logistics Championship at Moor Allerton in Yorkshire earlier in the year, heads into the 54-hole tournament with a Challenge Tour card in his sights.

He’s lying seventh in the order of merit, less than £800 behind the man in fifth spot, England’s Chris Gane, in the battle to be among five players to earn step ups to the second-tier circuit next season.

Ross, who is joined in the field by former PGA EuroPro Tour No 1 Paul McKechnie and also Craig Lawrie, handed himself a timely boost for the second event of the season on home soil when he passed a first-stage test in Germany last week in this year’s European Tour Qualifying School.

In two new events in that particular card battle, Ross Cameron (74) and Paul Shields (78) both got off to slow starts to sit 65th and 63rd at Golfclub Schloss Ebreichsdorf in Austria and Stoke by Nayland respectively.

Elsewhere, Dunbar’s Connor Wilson and Calum Scott from Nairn both opened with 74s to sit joint-fifth, five shots off the lead, after opening round of the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Castle Stuart.

Ireland’s Joseph Byrne set the pace with a three-under-par 69, one better than Korea’s Heejong Lim on a day when only two players broke par.

Also in the amateur ranks, hosts Scotland suffered a disappointing 5.5-3.5 defeat at the hands of Ireland in the opening round of matches in the Senior Men’s Home Internationals at Southerness, where England beat Wales 6-3.

In Fife, Laura Webb (East Berkshire) shot a five-under-par 67 to open up a three-shot lead after the opening round of the Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Crail. Elaine Moffat (St Regulus) is the top Scot on 74.