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Ten birdies secure Nicol a historic 59 at Montrose

golf

Kris Nicol, the 28-year-old tour pro from Fraserburgh became the first man in North-East Alliance history to return a 59, writes Colin Farquharson. He did it over the Montrose Links winter course – it is 5566 yards and has a par of 69 – with a fantastic display of precision play.

He did not chip in at any hole and had 25 putts for 10 birdies in a bogey-free round. Another feature was seven successive 3s from the second to eighth holes. "It was a perfect day for golf: no wind at all," he said. "I was fairly relaxed about it all until I stood on the 17th tee and knew I had to finish par-birdie or birdie-par to get a 59. I had to settle for a par 4 at the 17th which really put me under pressure to birdie the last. It boiled down to a 6ft putt, which I managed to hole. I think my wedge play had a lot to do with it. I was wedging it pretty close to the hole all the way round."

Nicol won a £150 prize for heading a field of 97 players. His figures were: OUT 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 – 29 (5 under) IN 3 3 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 – 30 (5 under)

Runner-up with a 62 was Greig Hutcheon, the Tartan Tour player who also covered the outward half in five-under-par 29 but hooked a ball out of bounds to bogey the 13th and could not repair the damage well enough to threaten Nicol.

cricket

Scotland will resume their campaign to qualify for the 2015 World Cup when they take on Afghanistan in March, writes William Dick. The International Cricket Council yesterday announced the latest round of fixtures during which the Saltires will take on the Afghans in a one-day international double-header in Sharjah on March 6 and 8.

Pete Steindl's side are currently second in the eight-team qualifying table, from which the top two will automatically qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Two wins would take the Scots clear of the leaders Ireland, who face United Arab Emirates later that month, but two defeats would mean they are joined in second place by Afghanistan. The 50-over games are preceded by two T20 games on March 3 and 4, while the two countries will also contest Intercontinental Cup points in a four-day encounter from March 12-15.

The Saltires are expected either to head to Dubai for a series of practise matches a fortnight before the fixtures or undertake a short tour elsewhere.

cycling

Team Sky has completed its process of interviewing all riders and staff as part of a drive to ensure everyone involved for 2013 has no link to doping, writes Colin Renton. A team spokesman has hinted that there may be further departures from the British-based outfit which has adopted a zero tolerance policy following recent events that have tarnished the sport.

The Canadian rider Michael Barry was dismissed by Sky after admitting during the investigation into the Lance Armstrong case that he had doped. The sporting director Steven De Jongh and coach Bobby Julich also left after confessing that they had used performance-enhancing substances during their careers, while another of the coaching team, Sean Yates, retired for health reasons although he denied having doped. The spokesman was quoted as saying: "Everyone within the team has been interviewed and the relevant declarations have been signed where appropriate."

ICE HOCKEY

Edinburgh Capitals bolstered their line-up yesterday by signing Curtis Leinweber, a free-scoring forward from University of Alaska Anchorage, writes Nigel Duncan. He should make his debut on Saturday when Capitals visit Belfast Giants in an Elite League and Challenge Cup double-header on Saturday.

The 24-year-old from Calgary comes highly-recommended by Dave Shyiak, the former Murrayfield Racers who is coach of University of Alaska Anchorage. Leinweber can play forward or defence and Richard Hartmann, the Capitals coach, said: "We were interested in signing him in the summer but he had offers from a number of ECHL clubs and he wanted to pursue his hockey in North America.

"As the National Hockey League lockout has continued, the market in North America has changed and opened up the opportunity to bring Curtis to Edinburgh. He was joint top points scorer for University of Alaska last year and has played in defence so he can be used in various situations."

n Bobby Chaumont, the 28-year-old Canadian who signed for Fife Flyers a couple of days after being dropped by Braehead Clan, is determined to help his new club climb the table after scoring on his debut in a 4-1 win over Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday.

Chaumont from Sudbury, Ontario, said: "The guys have been great in welcoming me here. I spoke to Garrett Zemlak [Clan's goalkeeper who moved from Fife in the close season] and he told me about the fans and the atmosphere here. I also did my homework and liked the fit."

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