This week’s European Tour event in Australia, the ISPS Handa Perth International starting tomorrow at Lake Karrinyup, is rekindling some fond memories for David Drysdale.
The Cockburnspath man holed 35-foot birdie putt on the last green in the same event at the end of the 2014 season to hang on to his card by climbing from 116th to 103rd in the Race to Dubai.
“I’m hoping I can re-create that week,” admitted Drysdale as he looked forward to playing his eighth event on the spin, a journey that started with two events in South Africa, involved a return trip there for another tournament after three weeks in the Middle East before teeing it up in Malaysia last week.
“Holing that putt on the 18th was very special and I’m looking forward to playing this course again. It’s in pristine condition and is what I’d describe as a proper golf course with fast greens. Hopefully it suits my eye again.”
Echoing Drysdale’s comments, fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher said of the Alister MacKenzie-designed layout: “You have to hit the ball both ways, you need height and to control the spin, which is the way I like to play the game.”
Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, first and second respectively in that 2014 event, are both in a line-up that also includes 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and home player Marcus Fraser, last Sunday’s winner in Malaysia who is now chasing a Masters debut.
“It’s at the front (of my mind),” admitted the 37-year-old of having leapt from 142nd in the world rankings to 62nd and needing to get into the top 50 by 28 March. “At the start of last week I couldn’t have been further away from thinking about that but now, all of a sudden, it’s been thrown in front of me.
“It’s a great opportunity. I’ve never played the Masters. It’s something as golfers we all dream of doing. I’ve got no one else to blame if it doesn’t happen and it’s entirely up to me to try to do everything I can to prepare properly to try to get one of those spots.”
Jamie McLeary completes a three-pronged tartan title assault.
Pamela Pretswell makes her return tomorrow from the back injury that forced her to retire when in contention in the New Zealand Ladies Open then sit out a qualifier for the Australian equivalent last week.
The 26-year-old, who was the top Scot on the Ladies European Tour last season, lines up in the RACV Ladies Masters at the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast along with compatriots Sally Watson, Kylie Walker and Heather MacRae.
“The back is feeling better,” said Pretswell, who was only able to last six holes in the final round of the New Zealand event when she was in touch with eventual winner and world No 1 Lydia Ko.
“I had a rest week last week and lots of good physio. I’ve well looked after by the Tour physio this week, played nine holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday, so I’m looking forward to getting started. Fingers crossed all goes ok this week.”
The former Curtis Cup player added: “I’ve had so many nice messages from people and the girls have all been checking up on me, which means a lot.”
Tributes have been paid to Elliot Rowan, one of Scotland’s foremost golf coaches, who died in hospital on Tuesday in his mid-80s.
Rowan played his amateur golf at Clydebank & District before serving his PGA training under John Jacobs at Sandy Lodge in Hertfordshire.
His other attachements including clubs in both Germany and the Netherlands, Billingham in Teesside and Douglas Park in Bearsden.
He held coaching posts with the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies Golfing Association at different times before becoming involved in the golf programme at St Leonards School in his native St Andrews.
“Elliot was the first real coach I ever had,” said Callum Macaulay, who first worked with him at the age of 14 before going on to become Scottish Amateur champion and also part of the first Scottish side to win the Eisenhower Trophy.
“He was a lovely guy and even in the latter stages of his life, he would still stand and watch me hit balls whenever I was in St Andrews. He is a big loss to the Scottish golfing world.”
Reflecting on his career after he became involved in the St Leonards programme, Rowan said: “During my years teaching golf I have found one of the most satisfying aspects is to watch the enthusiasm of the young golfers as they progress in competence and ability.”