Round Up: Sandy Scott shines on US college circuit

Sandy Scott, one of Scotland’s leading hopes for this year’s Walker Cup, is enjoying a promising spring season on the US college circuit.

Texas Tech junior Sandy Scott has started the spring season well on the US college circuit. Picture: Texas Tech
Texas Tech junior Sandy Scott has started the spring season well on the US college circuit. Picture: Texas Tech

In his latest event, the Texas Tech junior recorded a top-15 finish in the Southern Heights Collegiate in Las Vegas, jumping six spots in the last round.

That followed Nairn man Scott, the 2015 Scottish Boys’ Stroke-Play champion, claiming fourth place in the Wyoming Desert Collegiate.

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After opening with a 74 in the Southern Heights event, he then carded two 70s - he had an eagle and two birdies on the closing circuit - to finish on two-under.

Scott, who qualified for the 2017 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, had opened the spring campaign with a 67 in the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawaii.

In the Wyoming event, the former East of Scotland Open champion did his good work over the closing 36 holes in carding scores of 69 and 68.

Scott, a member of Scotland’s title-winning side in the 2016 European Amateur Team Chanpionship, will be hoping his good form Stateside helps him secure a Great Britain & Ireland berth for the Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool in September.

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Hopes of a Scottish victory in the Dubai Open presented by Turkish Airlines look slim after South African MG Keyser produced a record-breaking performance in the second round at Dubai Hills.

Keyser, who lives in Dubai, stormed to the top of the leaderboard on the back of a stunning 11-under-par 61 - the lowest-ever round on the MENA Tour.

After a brief delay due to a hailstorm, he coverred the last seven holes in seven-under to move to 15-under-par, opening up a two-shot lead heading into the final circuit.

The previous record on the third-tier circuit was set by Keyser himself in the 2017 Dubai Creek Open before being matched by both RayhanThomas and Antoine Schwartz

“After the rain, the conditions were just perfect and I was able to score coming in,” said Keyser, who is coached by Englishman Zane Scotland, the most successful player in the MENA Tour’s history.

Craig Ross, who started the day five shots off the lead in joint-second after an opening 67, is now nine back along with compatriot Scott Henry.

Ross signed for a 71 in his second circuit, having birdied the sixth and eighth before following a bogey at the ninth with nine straight pars coming home.

Henry’s 70 contained four birdies and two bogeys, including one at the last, as he also reached the 36-hole stage on six-under.

Jack Doherty (69) is a shot back in joint-21st, with Jack McDonald (68) and Conor O’Neil (70) both on four-under.

Daniel Hendry (69 for three-under) also made the cut, as did Bradley Neil after he carded eight birdies in a spirited second-round 67 to sit on one-under.

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Jane Turner and Hannah McCook carded matching level-par 74s in the opening round of the Cape Town Ladies Open, an event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

The efforts left the Scottish duo six shots off the pace at Royal Cape Golf Club after England’s Kiran Matharu stormed home in 32 to card a 68.

Turner, winner of the SuperSport Ladies Challenge last week, made three birdies as she recovered from being one-over after five holes to sit joint-11th.

McCook, who has got off to an encouraging start in her rookie season in the pro ranks, also signed for three birdies, including two in the final four holes.

Gabrielle Macdonald had a 77 - it included three birdies in a row but was followed by back-to-back bogeys to finish - while Laura Murray had to settle for an 80 after taking a quadruple-bogey 7 at the ninth.

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Meghan MacLaren says that her game is in a better place than at this time last year as she prepares to defend her maiden LET title in the Women’s New South Wales Open.

The 24-year-old, a double medallist in last year’s inaugural European Championships at Gleneagles, is full of confidence heading into the event, which starts on Thursday at Queanbeyan Golf Club.

That’s a result of her coming off a tie for sixth in the ActewAGL Canberra Classic on Sunday to lie 18th on the LET Order of Merit after three tournaments.

“I haven’t defended a title since my amateur days in the British Ladies’ Strokeplay,” said the English player, who won by two shots at Coffs Harbour Golf Club last year.

“I remember my coach at the time saying, ‘don’t look at it as though you’re trying to defend the title, because you’re not defending anything. You just want to go out there and play your own game.’ I think that’s a nice way of approaching it.

“It’s a pretty nice position to be in. If you could go into every tournament like that, you’d be doing something right, so I’m not looking at it as defending the tournament, more going out and enjoying the atmosphere and the environment that being the past champion brings.”

Michele Thomson, who shared the podium with MacLaren in both her medal successes at Gleneagles, flies the Saltire in the event along with Kylie Henry, Kelsey Macdonald and Carly Booth, who will be hoping to take up where she left off when finishing fourth in Canberra last weekend.

Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen is also in the field.