Great Britain & Ireland’s hopes of a Walker Cup victory received a setback with Sandy Scott’s decision to withdraw from the match at Seminole Golf Club because of a long-standing wrist injury.
The Nairn-based Scott was to be one of two returnees from the GB&I team that competed at Royal Liverpool along with England’s Alex Fitzpatrick. Scott won 2½ points in GB&I’s losing effort and was the highest-ranked player on the GB&I team at world No 7.
Scott’s preparations for the match had been curtailed because of his wrist injury. Despite surgery and optimism he could compete at Seminole, the Texas Tech player has had to bow out.
“It’s obviously a bit of a blow to lose Sandy as he was an automatic pick as the highest-ranked player on WAGR and having performed well in the previous match,” GB&I captain Stuart Wilson told The Scotsman newspaper. “We knew of Sandy’s injury and he was keeping us informed of his progress.
“Unfortunately, he had to inform us that he didn’t think he would be ready and we are thankful to him for making an early call on that with the team’s best interests at heart. We wish him a full recovery.”
England’s Jack Dyer takes Scott’s place to bring the English contingent to eight, along with Irish players Mark Power and John Murphy. Dyer was a surprise omission from the original 10-man team given he recently placed runner-up in the South African Amateur, sixth in the African Stroke Play, seventh in the Cape Province Open, ninth in the Northern Amateur Open and 12th in South African Stroke Play.
American Pierceson Coody, a University of Texas student, is the new No 1 player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking. With a second-place finish in the Aggie Invitational, Coody replaces countryman Davis Thompson at the top of the world order with a one-place move.
Thompson is relegated to third behind John Pak, the Florida State player who moves into the No 2 spot after winning the Calusa Cup. All three are on the U.S. Walker Cup team to face Great Britain & Ireland at Seminole Golf Club in Florida on 7-8 May.
GB&I team members Barclay Brown and Angus Flanagan of England also receive ranking rises ahead of the match. Brown’s victory in the Wyoming Cowboy Classic, his first as a Stanford University student, sees him rise 38 places to a career high of 77th. Flanagan, who attends the University of Minnesota, won the Boilermaker Invitational to advance 20 spots to 43rd.
Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad becomes the world’s third-best player behind compatriot Linn Grant and world No 1 Rose Zhang of the United States with her second college victory in a row. The Louisiana State University player added the LSU Tiger Golf Classic to her top finish in the Liz Murphey Collegiate to make a one-ranking rise.
Home fans will be able to watch Annika Sörenstam in action for the first time in more than a decade after she announced she will play in the new Scandinavian Mixed event at Vallda Golf and Country Club on 10-13 June.
The 60-year-old former world No 1 originally planned only to host the event in tandem with Henrik Stenson but has had a late change of heart and now will join the field of 78 men and 78 women.
It will be her first competitive start in Sweden since the 2008 Scandinavian TPC in Stockholm.
Sörenstam’s decision comes after she made the cut at February’s Gainbridge LPGA event at Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida.
“I’m excited to tee it up at the Scandinavian Mixed and to be playing competitively in my home country of Sweden for the first time in 13 years, ” she said. “Since retiring in 2008, I have dedicated a lot of my time to the Annika Foundation, which hosts seven events for junior girls each year including the Annika Invitational Europe which will be at Isaberg Golf Club in Sweden following this year's tournament, so I felt like it was a perfect opportunity to actually play in this historic event bringing women and men together in a combined professional tournament.
“It is another way to bring our game to the younger generation in Sweden and for those watching around the world, showcasing that golf is truly a game for everyone. ”
The European Tour has moved quickly to replace the hole left on the schedule by the postponement of the Open de France by announcing the staging of the Tenerife Championship at Golf Costa Adeje from May 6-9.
The event carries a €1.5 million prize fund and follows the Tenerife Open at the same venue. It also is the third event in a three-week European Tour swing through the Canary Islands with the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open kicking off the sequence.
“It was important for us to replace the postponed Open de France to provide playing opportunities for our members, while staging a second event in Tenerife, and playing a third consecutive week in the Canary Islands, also helps to reduce travel for our players, caddies and staff,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said.
The tour also announced that Belgium will host a 72-hole, stroke-play tournament next year for the first time since Lee Westwood’s 2000 Belgian Open victory at Royal Zoute Golf Club. The 2022 season will feature the €1 million Soudal Open in either May or June at Rinkven International Golf Club in Schilde, near Antwerp. It is the first tournament in a three-year deal.
Belgium last featured on the European Tour in 2019 with the Belgian Knockout, a combination stroke- and match-play tournament. Rinkven International also hosted that event.
“Belgium has a strong tradition of European Tour events as well as a history of producing some terrific talent, so we are delighted the country’s national open will be part of our schedule again next year,” Pelley said.
The Belgium Open was first staged in 1910 when France’s Arnaud Massy won the title three years after becoming the first Continental player to win the Open Championship. Other notable former winners include Walter Hagen, Henry Cotton, Roberto De Vicenzo, Eamonn Darcy, José María Olazábal, Darren Clarke, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Nick Faldo.
Two-time winner Juli Inkster has announced plans to try to qualify for this year’s US Women's Open.
Inkster, 60, will play in next week’s 36-hole qualifier at Half Moon Bay Links near San Francisco, California, as she attempts to earn a spot in the championship for the first time since 2014.
“I’m probably an idiot for trying but I think I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t because it’s so close to home,” said Inkster, who lives in Los Altos, about a half-hour from this year’s championship venue, the Olympic Club.
Inkster won the US Women's Open in both 1999 and 2002.
Wayne Player, son of three-time Masters champion Gary Player, has been banned from Augusta National Golf Club, according to his brother, Marc.
It follows an attempt by 58-year-old Wayne to display a sleeve of balls while 86-year-old Lee Elder was being introduced to patrons for the first time at the traditional honorary starters ceremony that precedes the start of the tournament.
The perceived publicity stunt resulted in a raft of criticism on new media, not least from Marc Player, who tweeted: “Agreed. Wayne has since been correctly banned from Augusta National and the Masters tournament. What a shame. What an embarrassment. What a bad decision to allow him on the first tee after years of similar shenanigans. Apologies.”
There has been no comment from anyone at Augusta National.
England Golf has named two overseas squads in a return to supporting players who choose to play college golf in the United States.
The 13 players (nine women and four men) will be considered for selection for England teams and are eligible for support and remote coaching while studying in the US.
The women (with their American university) are Jess Baker (Central Florida), Rosie Belsham (Baylor), Annabell Fuller (Florida), Ellie Gower (Colorado), Charlotte Heath (Florida State), Caley McGinty (Kent State), Mimi Rhodes (Wake Forest), Hannah Screen (Oklahoma) and Amelia Williamson (Florida State).
Assistant women’s performance manager Jennifer Henderson said: “With many young female golfers from the England Golf talent pathway exploring the opportunity of US college scholarships, I’m delighted that we are once again able to support an overseas women’s squad.”
The male players are Dan Bradbury (Lincoln Memorial), Barclay Brown (Stanford), Angus Flanagan (Minnesota) and Joe Pagdin (Florida).
“The competitive environment the NCAA provides, often coupled with a climate conducive to year-round practice and play, makes US college golf an attractive option for aspiring international amateur players,” said men’s performance manager Stephen Burnett. “Our US-based players are destined to play their part in our England teams this year as we push on for further unparalleled success in the international amateur game.”
France’s Manon Gidali had compatriot Antoine Rozner on her mind while holing a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to claim her maiden professional victory at the Cape Town Women’s Open.
“I was thinking about my friend Antoine Rozner, ” the LET player admitted. “He sank a long putt to win on the European Tour two weeks ago in Qatar and I was thinking, ‘You can do it, too.’ And I made it.”
The 27-year-old’s victory at Royal Cape extends a recent run of form that saw her claim 33rd place on last year’s LET money list despite making just nine starts.
“It means a lot to get my first professional win here on the Sunshine Tour,” she added. “This gives me the confidence to know I can win and obviously the next step is to win on the LET.”
Gadali’s birdie putt was enough to see off the challenge of local hope Cara Gorlei.
Colin Callander and Alistair Tait