Sandy Scott off to solid start in Amateur Championship in Ireland

Nairn’s Sandy Scott was the sole Scot to shine in testing conditions for the opening stroke-play qualifying round in the 124th Amateur Championship in Ireland.

On a day when fewer than 20 players in the 288-strong field broke par, Scott made a solid start with a one-under-par 71 at Portmarnock, which is co-hosting the qualifying with The Island Golf Club.

The 20-year-old, who recently helped the Internationals win the Arnold Palmer Cup in Arkansas at the end of his penultimate year at Texas Tech, birdied the first, bogeyed the fifth then birdied the sixth and ninth before dropping a shot at the last.

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The effort left him sitting joint ninth in the 36-hole battle to make the top 64 and ties for the match-play stage at Portmarnock, where the R&A event is being held for only the second time.

Australia-based Connor McKinney is the only other Scot on course to be involved in the knockout phase, the Jondalup player sitting joint- 52nd after a two-over 74 at Portmarnock, where he was level par with three to play before dropping shots at the 16th and 18th.

Euan Walker, the African Amateur champion from Barassie, was next best among the tartan contingent with a 75, also at Portmarnock, with Rory Franssen (Inverness) and James Wilson (Balmore) signing for the same score but, in their cases, four over at The Island.

On a day when Morocco’s Ayoub Ssouadi, England’s Harry Hall and, late in the day, Germany’s Anton Albers topped the leaderboard with 67s, Scottish champion Euan McIntosh had to settle for a 77 while fellow Walker Cup hopefuls Ryan Lumsden and Jamie Stewart could only manage 78 and 79 respectively.

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