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Scottish Open — Matthew Southgate picks up where namesake Gareth left off in World Cup

GULLANE, Scotland — One method or one other the broader Southgate clan appears decided to place a smile on the face of English sport this summer season.

Gareth Southgate’s World Cup journey of discovery got here to an finish Wednesday night, his England staff unpicked by Croatia on a heady and emotional Moscow night time, however inside hours, 2,500 kilometres west, only a few miles outdoors Edinburgh, golfer Matthew Southgate was taking up the baton.

On the burnt fairways of Gullane Golf Club the 29-year-old Englishman was banishing the frustration of the night time earlier than, making 5 birdies and an eagle in his first 12 holes to briefly lead the Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Open.

“Nice one Gareth,” cried the wags in the gallery, however the Essex man was taking no credit score for the success of his namesake.

“There’s no connection and I’ve never met him but I’d love to,” mentioned Southgate, whose first-round 65 leaves him two behind chief Luke List. “I had a 5 a.m. alarm call but there was no way I was missing the match. Gutted with the result but not the performance. It was lovely how the country got behind the team. There’s 30 guys getting on a plane soon and we’re all really proud of them.”

Fellow Englishman Chris Wood returned a gap spherical of 2-under-par 68, however could not disguise his disappointment from the night time earlier than.

“It’s deflating,” he sighed. “I really like soccer and I really like the World Cup and I actually thought they’d get to the ultimate. I sat watching it with a Welshman [Ryder Cup winner Jamie Donaldson] who threatened to have his Croatia shirt on however deep down he had an England one on.

“I walked into the participant’s lounge at half previous six and the primary particular person I noticed was Thomas Bjorn, the Ryder Cup captain, who completely hammered me. But it has been an incredible summer season. The scenes in parks have been superb, however I have been away for each sport.

“When I landed in Germany during the first group game my courtesy car had TVs so we watched the last 20 minutes in the back of a BMW. Harry Kane scored [a winner against Tunisia] just as we arrived outside the hotel which was pretty cool.”

Wood had his wedges stamped with the phrases “It’s coming home” forward of this week and recognizing them very first thing left him slightly rueful. He was particularly torn that a good better dilemma was not dealing with him.

“England making the World Cup final would have been a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we’d have been on the golf course [on Sunday]. Mixed feelings about that.”

It would have been a outstanding scene for certain. Back in 1996, Laura Davies was taking part in the ultimate spherical of the Evian Championship while watching the European Championship quarter-final between England and Spain on a mini-television. She was fined for doing so, however did not remorse it and instantly discovered the funds to pay up: She watched England win on penalties after which triumphed in the match itself, one of many nice sporting doubles.

If the English golfers had been slightly bereft, there was a Croatian one with a smile on his face this Thursday. Before the golf, at the least.

Vlado Heruc, the nation’s solely skilled in the world rankings (2,028th), was taking part in in the Gut Bissenmoor Classic on the third tier Pro Golf Tour in Germany. Alas, he discovered no inspiration from his compatriots and shot 9-over-par 80.

Back in Scotland visiting Americans took the chance to come across a distinct sporting surroundings. Rickie Fowler’s chef is English so the American’s rented home briefly echoed to the sound of Three Lions while Matt Fitzpatrick revealed that his American girlfriend had wished to see an England match in the pub final weekend (“It got a bit messy,” he admitted, though he stayed sober).

Masters champion Patrick Reed accomplished a late spherical of 65 after which confessed that he’d been concentrating elsewhere the earlier night.

“Being American I didn’t have a dog in the fight,” he mentioned. “I saw some of it but I was watching Wimbledon. I knew when it was finished though.”

How so?

“Well, I kind of heard a lot of doors slammed shut.”

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