Golf briefs: Challenge Tour | Australian Women’s Open | Amateur Stroke-Play

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CHALLENGE TOUR: Several Scots made positive starts to the Barclays Kenya Open and Raymond Russell led the charge as he finished the opening day one shot off the lead thanks to a four-under-par round of 67.

The Edinburgh-born man carded a bogey-free round at the sun-kissed Karen Country Club, in Nairobi, to share second place with two others, one shot back from outright leader and his playing partner HP Bacher.

“It was pretty stress-free really,” said the 40-year-old. “I didn’t really have to scramble or struggle to any pars,” David Law, Andrew McArthur and George Murray were all a shot further back, tied for fifth, after they signed for three-under-par rounds of 68 while Steven O’Hara’s two-under-par 69 left him in tied 11th. Bacher, meanwhile, made a flying start for a five-under-par 66 and the first-round lead.

AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S OPEN: Teenage amateur Lydia Ko shot a blistering ten-under 63 to take the outright lead after the first round of the Australian Women’s Open. Ko, who won the New Zealand Women’s Open at the weekend, continued her impressive form with a remarkable round that included an eagle, 11 birdies and three bogeys at the Royal Canberra Golf Club.

The 15-year-old said it was her best performance since winning the New South Wales Open last year.

Ko said she was anxious to play alongside world number one Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie, but settled quickly despite opening with a bogey on the tenth. “After a few birdies, I kind of settled in and I felt pretty comfortable,” the New Zealander said. Scotland’s Catriona Matthew shot 69, with Carly Booth level on 73..

AMATEUR STROKE-PLAY: Scottish youths champion Ewan Scott has a three-shot deficit to make up if he is to win the South African men’s open amateur stroke-play championship at Oubaai Golf Club today.

The 17-year-old from St Andrews is lying fifth on seven-under-par 209 after rounds of 71, 67 and 71.

Scott is three shots behind South African leader Haydn Porteous who has had rounds 
of 69, 67 and 70 for ten-under 206.

Ellon’s Adam Dunton had an albatross 2 at the par-5 12th and a birdie at the fourth on his way to a one-under-par 71 to be in joint 33rd position on 219. His earlier rounds were 76 and 72.

The only other Scot to survive the halfway cut, Fraser McKenna (Balmore), had a nightmare round of 79 for a share of 55th.