Scots Quartet into last-32 of Northern Amateur Open
Four members of the SGU National Men’s Squad have qualified for the last-32 match play stage of the Northern Amateur Open, the final event of their eight-week winter performance programme in South Africa.
Aberdour’s Scott Crichton, one of the in-form players during the intensive trip, Paul Shields (Kirkhill), Lundin’s James White and Fraser McKenna (Balmore) are all in with a chance of replicating the success of compatriot David Law in the competition last year.
But, at Randpark, Johannesburg, there was agony for South African Amateur champion Brian Soutar after the Leven Golfing Society player missed out in a four-man play-off following four rounds of stroke play.
Crichton shared ninth spot among the qualifiers on six-under-par after rounds of 72 and 73 today, with Shields also comfortably qualifying two shots further back in a tie for 14th.
White, who along with Shields is in a 12-man preliminary squad for this year’s St Andrews Trophy against the Continent of Europe at Portmarnock on 31 August and 1 September, secured his passage in a tie for 19th despite slipping down the field with a fourth round three-over-par 75.
McKenna, meanwhile, produced heroics to respond from a third round 78 to hit back in style with a glorious five-under-par 67 and claim the 31st of the 32 places on offer at three over par.
Soutar, meanwhile, struggled to recapture his championship-winning form of 10 days ago as he fired rounds of 74 and 77 to be right on the cut mark for the last 32. But, in the four-man play-off, Teagan Gauche made birdie at the first extra hole to secure the final berth as Soutar could only par.
Daniel Kay was 66th overall as the Dunbar player failed to build on a promising start.
The knockout stage begins early tomorrow morning with hopes among the Scots quartet high.
The SGU programme in South Africa is supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, South African businessman Johann Rupert and the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation.
* In other news, Paul Lawrie - whose Foundation are sponsoring the Scottish Boys Championship at Murcar Links next month - has pulled out of the defence of his Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol crown on the European Tour this week.
The Aberdonian, who has been in great form in 2012, has been struggling with illness since the WGC event at Doral in Florida over the weekend.
"I had a very uncomfortable flight home as I couldn't stop coughing and spluttering," said Lawrie. "I got some antibiotics from the doctor but have decided to withdraw this week as there's no way I could play.
"I sent (tournament promoter) Miguel Angel Jimenez a text to say 'sorry' but I'm not well enough to play, I hope he understands. I have spent all day on the couch, one minute sweating and the next minute freezing."