James Ross enjoys ‘big bonus’ in Aviemore

Grant Forrest is level par
Grant Forrest is level par
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Capital star James Ross is enjoying an unexpected ‘Highland Fling’ after making the most of a late call up to the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge.

The 27-year-old, who only got into the event at Macdonald Spey Valley in Aviemore on Monday following a withdrawal, is still involved heading into the final two rounds.

He bagged five birdies in a second-round 68 for a three-under-par 142 total, surviving the cut at the third attempt in the £220,000 tournament.

“I only found out at the start of the week that I’d got into the field, so it’s a big bonus to be playing and also now through to the weekend,” said Royal Burgess man Ross.

The former Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year birdied the 13th, 17th and 18th after starting his second round at the 11th. He then made two more gains at the eighth and ninth before running up double bogey 5 at his last hole, the 10th.

“I’ve hit a lot of fairways and greens over the last two days,” added Ross, who is based in Houston, having stayed over in the US after graduating from college.

“Yesterday I have never been happier after shooting three-over and as I managed myself well and stayed patient. I only holed one putt, which was at the last, but today I holed a few and hit 16 greens.

“It’s a shame the way I finished but I’m pleased overall with the last two days.”

Ross, who sits 10 shots behind Swede Mikael Lundberg at the halfway stage, is back home mainly to try and qualify for the Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in a fortnight’s time and The Open at Royal Birkdale the following week.

“I been playing in Monday qualifiers for both PGA Tour and Web.com Tour events and shot a 63 in a pre-qualifier for the Houston Open qualifier,” he said.

“I also won a 36-hole mini-Tour event so there’s been a little glimmer here and there. My form is trending in the right way.

“I’ve got Open qualifying on Tuesday, then playing in a EuroPro Tour event on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the Scottish Open qualifying next Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s going to be a busy week, but I would rather have it that way than twiddling my thumbs and you’ve got to take what you can get when you’ve not got a card.”

Joining Ross in the final two rounds are three other Lothians players – Bonnyrigg-based Jamie McLeary, Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest and Danny Kay from Dunbar.

McLeary, the 2009 winner, is on one-under after a second-round 67, while Forrest and Kay are both on level-par after matching 68s.