19 Sep 2016
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Victorians Ash Hall and Ben Eccles have advanced through the first stage of European Tour Q-School.
Hall shot a final-round 71 at Roxburghe in Scotland to make the cut on the number at one under par after four rounds.
Just on the wrong side of that ledger were West Australian Rick Kulacz (+2) and Victorian Rory Bourke (+3).
It wasn’t quite as nerve-wracking for Eccles at Fleesensee in north-eastern Germany where the Geelong ace closed with 66-67 to finish T5 and even pocket 225 Euros for his trouble.
There are six more first stage Q-schools before the second round begins in early November with the final stage at Catalunya, Spain, from November 12-17.
Two of Australia’s brightest young professional prospects are plying their trades well this week, but far from the well-beaten path.
Victorians Ben Eccles and Ryan Ruffels, both members of the Golf Australia rookie squad, have begun separate quests for cards to play on foreign soil next year.
Eccles, 21, the reigning New South Wales Open champion, will tonight play the fourth round of the first stage of the European Tour’s Q-school in Fleesensee in north-eastern Germany.
The successful 2015 Interstate Series captain fired a superb third-round 66 to leap safely into a tie for seventh with a round to play in the first of three stages he’ll have to survive to gain a full European Tour card.
Ruffels, 18, narrowly missed his shot at the Web.Com Tour finals, so has opted to play in the LatinoAmerica Tour, another feeder to the parent US PGA Tour.
The dual Australian junior champion began the Copa Diners Club International in Ecuador overnight, but couldn’t complete his first round before bad weather won the day.
Ruffels was two under through 15 holes, four shots behind American leader Martin Trainer.
Other Australians in the field include Tasmanian Ryan McCarthy (+2 after 3), West Australian Brady Watt and Victorian Bryden Macpherson, both of whom are yet to start their rounds.
Marc Leishman bounced back to form today, firing a stylish 65 to share fourth just one off the lead at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
The Victorian, who won this event in 2012 as his breakthrough on the US PGA Tour, carded six birdies against just one bogey to sit one stroke behind Vaughn Taylor, Andrew Loupe and Jerry Kelly.
Leishman leads a strong 12-strong Australian contingent at TPC River Highlands, eight of whom are under par and in contention after round one, including resurgent Monday qualifier Stuart Appleby who’s T24 at two under.
Tickets have gone on sale for the World Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath from November 23-27.
“We expect to have a world-class field with many top players already commenting publically about their desire to play," executive director Matt Kamienski said.
"The ability to play in a rare team format, the reputation of Kingston Heath as a course and Melbourne as an incredible host city, as well as the stature of the World Cup as a historic international event are all factors in drawing some of the biggest names in the game.
"Fans in Victoria have the opportunity to get their tickets and reserve their spot as 28 teams from around the globe come to Melbourne ... expect to see some big names committing ... over the next 4-6 weeks.”
Ticket options range from practice round tickets ($30), single-day competitive round tickets starting at $60 and two-day weekend tickets ($95).
Additional options include a full-week pass and upgraded tickets in the MacKenzie Club.
Children under 16 are admitted free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
To purchase tickets, or find more information on ticket options, log on to www.WorldCupofGolf.com from today.
New Zealander Lydia Ko needed four extra holes to defeat Mirim Lee and Ariya Jutanugarn to pick up her fourth win of the season at the 2016 Marathon Classic in Ohio today.
The world No. 1 shot a final-round two-under par 69 to pick up her 14th LPGA Tour victory after finishing at 14 under.
It then took the longest playoff in the history of the tournament, but Ko stepped into the winner’s circle for the second time in three years.
“It's always good to come back to a place where you've well played,” Ko said.
“It's been a fun week. I guess we had to play four extra holes for somebody to be holding the trophy, but Mirim and Ariya all had a great week, so it was hard to say someone deserved the trophy more than the others.”
Katherine Kirk was top Aussie at T21 at five under, while Sarah Jane Smith closed with a flat 74 to finish two over and tied 53rd.