Gregory ready to launch second American raid

Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew GriffinScott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Amateur champion Scott Gregory will make his second appearance on the PGA Tour after receiving an invite to play in Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, which starts this evening.

The 22-year-old Walker Cup prospect follows up his debut in the Masters at Augusta, in April, with a real warm-up before his first-ever appearance in the US Open, at Erin Hills, in two weeks’ time.

Gregory has been paired with European Tour regular Peter Uihlein – the son of Titleist chief Wally Uihlein – and Aussie Ryan Ruffels and will tee-off at 6.49pm British time.

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The Memorial, which was won by Gregory’s hero Justin Rose back in 2010, is one of the most prestigious events on the US tour.

Gregory will be hoping to play all four rounds at Muirfield Village in Ohio, scene of one of Europe’s greatest Ryder Cup victories back in 1987.

The Corhampton ace said: ‘I got here on Friday having spent 10 days with my coach Simon Andrews at Portsmouth Golf Centre, preparing my game again for American conditions.

‘I had to work on my lower shots and chip and runs in preparation for the Lytham Trophy and Irish Amateur which I played in May.

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‘For America, we needed to get my ball flight back up again and practice much higher chip shots.

‘I’m going to be going straight from the Memorial to Erin Hills for the US Open, where I will be practicing all of the week before to really get to know the course.’

The Memorial tournament is also a celebration of America’s leading amateur college golfers with the winners of the Jack Nicklaus awards for both the NCAA and NAIA college players of the year being announced on Sunday.

Rowlands Castle’s Billy McKenzie was one of the nominees in the NAIA for a third year running.

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Rose reluctantly pulled out of the Memorial this week to aid his bid to claim a second US Open, having gone so close to a first Green Jacket at Augusta, where he lost a play-off to Sergio Garcia.

Meanwhile, Gregory’s bid for glory in America saw him miss the chance to become one of a handful of players to hold the Brabazon Trophy and the British Amateur titles at the same time

The English Amateur Strokeplay Championship was held at Woodhall Spa, the Lincolnshire headquarters of England Golf, over the weekend.

The title headed to South Africa as Kyle McClatchie finished a shot ahead of Wellow-based Jack Singh-Brar, winner of the Hampshire and Selborne Salvers at Blackmoor, in April.

Also tied in second was Saunton’s Jake Burnage, winner of the Hampshire Hog, at North Hants over the same weekend as Singh-Brar’s victories.