Golf: Russell flush after Italian job

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LOTHIANS star Raymond Russell has rocketed up the Challenge Tour rankings after landing his maiden win on the second-tier circuit in Italy on Saturday.

The 39-year-old is up to sixth on the money-list following his victory in the Challenge Provincia di Varese.

It earned him a cheque for just over £20,000 and took his winnings for the season to close to £35,000.

“You’re always trying to win,” said Russell, who hails from Prestonpans and cut his golfing teeth at Longniddry. “That’s why we practise hard. Finishing second or third is nice, but we’re trying to win every week.”

After earning his European Tour card via the 2010 Challenge Tour Rankings, Russell played just one event on the main schedule last year.

A debilitating virus kept him out of action virtually all season and he has had to return to the Challenge Tour this season to start all over again.

Now Russell will be hoping to kick on to cement his place in the top ten on the money list to secure a decent card for next season.