Scots salvage some more pride as Danes close in on victory

Duncan Stewart of Scotland hits out of the bunker during the third day of the World Cup of Golf. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Duncan Stewart of Scotland hits out of the bunker during the third day of the World Cup of Golf. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Scotland, represented by Russell Knox and Duncan Stewart, clawed a few more spots up the leaderboard as Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen closed in on Denmark’s first World Cup of Golf victory in Australia.

Having put themselves out of title contention straight away with the first-round 78 that left them last out of 28 teams at Kingston Heath in Melbourne, the $8 million event has turned into a pride restoration exercise for the Scottish duo.

They jumped to joint-23rd following a second-round 65 and were up to a share of 20th heading into today’s final circuit following a hugely-improved effort, a level-par 72, in the second foursomes session.

On one-under-par, Knox and Stewart trailed the Danes by 13 shots after Kjeldsen and Olesen cemented their position at the top of the leaderboard with a 70, but the Scottish duo had a big finish in their sights in today’s fourballs.

“At the start of the day, I think Russell and Duncan would have taken a level-par round, but, after playing the way they did, level par was about the worst score they could have had,” reported Keir McNicoll, who is caddying for Stewart, in his blog for the Gullane Pro Shop.

“Hitting 15 out of 18 greens is a fantastic round of golf in foursomes, where creating a rhythm and flow is very difficult. The boys also drove it brilliantly off the tee and were never out of position on any of the holes, but it was the putts that just wouldn’t drop for the guys today. If they had, then it could have easily been a round of four or five-under.

“This solid play should give them confidence for the final fourball round, where Team Scotland will be looking for a least a repeat performance of Friday’s seven-under-par. The way they are playing, if the putts drop, then something special might just happen.”

On 14-under, the Danes held a four-shot lead over US duo Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, with Chinese pair Ashun Wu and Haotong Li a further shot back in third.

Elsewhere, Indian teenager Aditi Ashok made it back-to-back wins on the LET with a three-stroke success in the Qatar Ladies Open. The 2015 St Rule Trophy winner closed with a three-under 69 for a 15-under-par total. Pamela Pretswell tied for 23rd, just ahead of Kylie Walker (28th) and Carly Booth (34th).