Six Irish chase Open ticket

Seven Irish players contest this week’s Scottish Open but while Pádraig Harrington will tee up on the acclaimed Castle Stuart course to the east of Inverness with the comfort of a British Open tee time, it won’t be the same for six others.

Peter Lawrie, Paul McGinley, Damien McGrane, Shane Lowry, Gareth Maybin and Simon Thornton will be striving for that Open berth.

However, if past Scottish Open showings is any yardstick the odds of any of the six joining the likes of Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell next week is high.

Lawrie’s best showing in three Scottish Opens is 24th on debut in 2009. McGinley has a best of third in 2001 from 17 prior showings while McGrane has contested the event eight times with a 16th in 2010 as his best.

Lowry is teeing up for a fourth straight year after a best of 13th last year while Maybin has also played the event three times with his best result being 45th in 2010. Thornton is making his debut.

Harrington’s best Scottish Open finish was 14th in last year’s rain-shortened event.

* In the first round of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at Royal Portrush, out went title favourite and leading qualifier Dermot McElroy to be followed by defending champion Patrick McCrudden. Schoolboy Tim Jordan from Dungannon delivered the knockout punch to McElroy.

However, he was sent packing in the afternoon by Englishman Ryan Fricker by 4&2 .

Galwegian Eddie McCormack was the man who abruptly ended the reign of McCrudden by 6&4after being four up at the turn.

Harry Diamond, aiming to add the North title to the West crown, recorded wins of 4&2 and 3&1 while Conor Doran filed results of 5&4 and 3&2.

lIreland moved into the quarter-finals of the European Boys Team Championship in Sweden yesterday.

But they now meet host nation Sweden who qualified for the top flight with a 36-hole total, 13 strokes better than them.

Faithlegg’s Robin Dawson produced an inspirational performance to lift Ireland into the elite grouping, firing a one under par 69.

Alex Gleeson from Castle returned a 71 while Williams Russell was on 73.

Ireland’s total for the two days with five of the six cards counting each day was 727- 27 over par but they were three strokes ahead of the last quarter-finallists France.

Italy topped the first flight with a 712 aggregate and they were followed by Sweden, Spain, Norway, England, Germany, Ireland and France.

* Ireland failed to make it into the top flight for the matchplay stages of the European Girls Team Championship in Germany — three years after they captured the crown.

After the stroke-play phase they finished in 13th position with an aggregate of 33 over par and will now have to play in the second flight knowing their best position will be ninth.

Slieve Russell teenager Leona Maguire was again best of the Irish, returning a level par 72 and is still in the top dozen individuals. But her twin sister Lisa continued to be out of sorts as she posted a miserable 79.

Jean O’Driscoll improved considerably on her Tuesday performance and matched Leona’s 79 but with neither Chloe Ryan or Jessica Carty breaking 80 and no-one beating the par Ireland were always in trouble.

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