MARTIN LAIRD and Stephen Gallacher had mixed fortunes for Scotland in today’s first round of the World Cup of Golf at Royal Melbourne.
Laird carded a four-under-par 67 to sit joint-third, one shot behind joint leaders Thomas Bjorn from Denmark and American Kevin Streelman.
Gallacher, though, had to settle for a three-over 74 to sit in joint 38th place.
It left the Scottish duo, the same one that finished joint-fourth at Mission Hills in China two years ago, with a team total of 141, four off the clubhouse lead held by Denmark and defending champions United States. The $8 million event is primarily a stroke-play tournament on this occasion and Laird’s start was certainly encouraging for him in his bid to put Ryder Cup points on the board.
The American-based player had thought he’d have to wait until January 1 to take up membership of the European Tour and therefore be eligible for next year’s match at Gleneagles.
He was unexpectedly granted membership for this week’s event and is now trying to play catch-up after the Ryder Cup race started in Wales in September.
Meanwhile, Bonnyrigg-based Jamie McLeary was today making his European Tour debut in the first round of the South African Open.
It followed him earning a step up to the top Tour last month after eight years on the Challenge Tour.
“I’m really looking forward to being out on the European Tour, where I feel I deserve to be,” said the former Scottish Challenge winner.