Scott Thwaites of the Scottish-based Endura Racing Team sprinted to victory in an action-packed opening round of the Halfords Tour Series in Kirkcaldy last night, writes Colin Renton.
The 1 hour 15 minute race unfolded at a fierce pace and a string of riders tried to make a decisive break but all were reeled in and a large bunch remained in contention at the bell. During the final lap around the 1.4km circuit, several teams jostling for the lead but the outcome was only decided in a frantic finish along the seafront, as Thwaites powered home to snatch the win.
Endura emerged victorious in the team competition, with Marcel Six (Metaltek Scott) winning the Boardman Bikes Sprints jersey, while Stuart Balfour (Edinburgh RC) and Flora Gillies (Peebles CC) took the honours in the youths' support events.
Penicuik's Jane Turner, of Craigielaw GC, took a two-shot lead after the first qualifying round of the 98th staging of the Scottish Women's Amateur Championship at Tain GC, Ross shire, with a two-over-par 75 on a day when only five players broke 80 with a near-gale blowing in from the north-west, writes Colin Farquharson.
Closest to were the 2010 champion Kelsey MacDonald (77), Kilmacolm's Eilidh Briggs (78), Ailsa Summers of Carnoustie Ladies (79) and Alford's Laura Murray (79) on what MacDonald described as "absolutely brutal weather for golf". She added: "The trouble with the wind was that it was mostly blowing across the fairways."
Hole scores of 10 and 11 were commonplace, with one player taking 56 shots (21-over) for the first nine holes and another said she was seven-over par after only three holes. Even a player as experienced as the six-time Angus champion, Mary Summers from Carnoustie Ladies, had a 10 at the par-5 11th and finished with 103.
Turner said: "Holing a 20ft putt across the first green for a birdie helped in terms of attitude; I wasn't going to let the wind beat me. I drove well but mainly just played really steady golf, making mistakes, as was to be expected, but making the best of it and just getting on with it," said the 22-year-old who will graduate from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen this summer.
"The icing on the cake for me – and the hole that gave me a two-shot lead over [playing partner] Kelsey – was the 17th. It's a par 4, even though it is only 208 yards. Today it was one of the few holes directly into the wind but I hit it really well with my driver, to the back edge of the green, and I holed the putt from about 30 feet for an eagle 2."
Derek Forsyth, Scotland's new men's head coach, will take charge for the first time in the opening round of the inaugural World League in Portugal in September, writes Craig Madden. His target is a top two spot to qualify for the next stage but he will be without the services of experienced defender Iain Scholefield who is planning to spend the next few months in Australia.
Scholefield was integral to Glynhill Kelburne's run of Scottish titles before signing last summer for the Belgian top-flight side Uccle Sport.
The Scotland internationalist does not plan an immediate return to the Paisley club, but is negotiating to play for Melville in Perth. "As a graduate in civil engineering, work opportunities are limited at home at present, so I hope to join Perth and play with, and against, top Australian international players," he said. It means that he will miss the opening round of the World League, in which Forsyth's squad will face Greece, Gibraltar, Italy, Morocco and hosts Portugal, with the Scots favourites to secure a top-two place to move to the next round.
Airdrie's Ryan Dalziel retained the lead in the Grand Am series at the weekend but has called on series organisers to re-think rules after a late shunt denied him victory, writes Kenneth Stephen. The Scot was on course to win at New Jersey on Sunday in his Starworks Riley until he was shunted side-ways by Max Angelelli's Corvette.
He recovered to take second place and pushed Starworks back into the overall lead but he argues that officials should take action to give his team's car more power and pace because he feels current regulations are heavily weighted in favour of the Corvettes.
"My team-mate Enzo Potolicchio got a stop-and-go penalty in Homestead for making contact with the leading car that was aquaplaning off track yet nothing is done about these incidents," he said. "With 20 minutes to go, Angelelli shunted me out of the way. I knew it was coming because I had already seen him knock Ozz Negri off track twice in my rear-view mirrors.
"I hope Grand-Am will change the rules to give the Riley teams some much-needed downforce. Then we can race these guys on outright speed and not with better strategy and making the most of their mistakes."
n Bathgate's Dario Franchitti improved again on day three of practice for next weekend's Indianapolis 500, writes Lorin McDougall. The 2007 and '10 winner was 18th and 14th on the first two days but posted the seventh-quickest time of 40.825, averaging over 220mph at the 2½-mile oval.