New Scottish card holders all make cut in Hong Kong Open

Liam Johnston, pictured working out a plan of attack with his caddie Ross Noon, safely made the cut in the Honma Hong Kong Open. Picture: Getty Images
Liam Johnston, pictured working out a plan of attack with his caddie Ross Noon, safely made the cut in the Honma Hong Kong Open. Picture: Getty Images
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Scotland’s four European Tour newcomers - Grant Forrest, Liam Johnston, David Law and Bob MacIntyre - all made the cut in their first outing as card holders in the Honma Hong Kong Open.

The quartet joined veteran campaigner David Drysdale in making it through to the weekend in the opening event on the 2019 schedule after wasting no time finding their feet on the top circuit at Fanling.

David Law picked up three birdies in the last six holes to book his place in the weekend's action at Fanling in Hong Kong. Picture: Getty Images

David Law picked up three birdies in the last six holes to book his place in the weekend's action at Fanling in Hong Kong. Picture: Getty Images

As Englishman Aaron Rai shot a course-record 61 to storm into a four-shot lead at the halfway stage, it was mission accomplished for Challenge Tour graduates Forrest, Johnston, Law and MacIntyre.

They have all set out hoping to get some Race to Dubai points on the board in a handful of events taking place before the end of the year and this was exactly the start they were looking for.

MacIntyre, the youngest of the quartet at 22, took pride of place among the Scottish contingent on the second circuit as he carded a three-under-par 67.

The left-hander from Oban eagled the par-13th - his fourth - before adding a birdie three holes later, carding pars on every other hole on a course that demands accuracy on every single hole.

The effort lifted him 30 spots into a share of 30th on two-under, sitting alongside Forrest after the 25-year-old from North Berwick reeled off three birdies in a row on his back nine to card a 68.

As the cut fell at one-over, Law and Johnston both made it with a shot to spare after they carded matching 69s to sit in a share of 55th spot on level-par.

Law was outside the mark with six holes to play but the 28-year-old from Aberdeen rallied brilliantly to pick up three birdies over the closing stretch.

Johnston matched MacIntyre’s eagle at the 13th and, while that came in the middle of a run that also saw him make thre bogeys, the 25-year-old from Dumfries carded three birdies before dropping a shot at his last hole.

Drysdale, who is starting out on his 18th consecutive season on the European Tour, is the best-placed among the Scots heading into the weekend in the $2 million tournament.

On three-under, the 43-year-old from Cockburnspath sits alongside Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia in joint-22nd after coming home in 34, two-under, for a 69.

Rai, a 23-year-old from Wolverhampton who finished 58th in the 2018 Race to Dubai in his first full year on the circuit, signed for nine birdies as he stormed clear of the field on 14-under-par.

“Everything was on song today,” admitted the three-time Challenge Tour winner afterwards. “I stayed bogey-free today and also yesterday, which is a nice thing going into the weekend.”

Korean Hyowon Park is his closest challenger after a 62 moved him to 10-under, with Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick two shots further back after he also carded an eight-under-par effort.

Tommy Fleetwood is among six players on six-under while Masters champion Patrick Reed produced six birdies in his final seven holes to make the cut on level-par.

Simon Yates, the sixth Scot in the field, missed out by two shots after the Thai-based player shot a second-day 71 for three-over.