Tuesday, August 09, 2016

 Highland battle lines drawn as Nairn welcomes 
   Men's Home Internationals
The Nairn Golf Club will add to its already illustrious history this week when it plays host to the premier amateur team event for male golfers across GB and I – with talented teenager Sandy Scott teeing up for his country on home turf.
The Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals will be fought over three great golfing days as the four-cornered team event heads to the Highlands from 10 – 12 August.
Contested annually between sides from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, it offers a chance for the leading lights from men’s amateur golf to shine in a team environment – just as Europe and the US will do in next month’s Ryder Cup.
Top players who have lined up in the event in the past before going on to make their name in the pro ranks include Rory McIlroy, Colin Montgomerie, Danny Willett and Ian Woosnam.
Scott, part of Scotland’s successful defence of the European Amateur Team title last month, is relishing the chance to compete at a venue he knows so well, as Scotland bid to win the title for the first time since they were last on home soil, at Gailes Links in 2012.
The 18-year-old said: “I'm really excited to play this week at my home club and the course is in great condition. For me, to represent my country and club at the club I've played at my whole life is amazing.
“It would be great if the members and my friends come out to watch. I think I joined Nairn when I was eight years old, and the club has been great to me and all the other juniors the whole time. The facilities are fantastic.”
All four teams will boast strong line-ups with England represented by the likes of England’s Alfie Plant, the Lytham Trophy winner, Plant’s GB and I colleague from defending champions Ireland, Stuart Grehan, as well as rising Welsh talent Joshua Davies.
Scotland’s side will have a mix of youth and experience, with Scott and Calum Fyfe, 19, joined by the likes of Matthew Clark and Barry Hume, both 34, and Euan McIntosh, 47.
Clark sees similarities with the victorious 2012 side and the Kilmacolm member, making his fifth straight Homes appearance, said: “As a team, we bonded very well that year. Perhaps a little like this year, we had a similar blend of experience and youth.
“I expect us to perform well after we ran Ireland close for the title last year. We have a tough start against England but I’m sure the guys will come out all guns blazing and it would be great to emulate what we did in 2012.”
With four of Scotland’s leading players unable to play at Nairn after qualifying to contest the US Amateur, Clark believes the strength in depth is a positive sign for Scottish amateur golf.
“It’s actually a situation that is healthy for the country rather than not,” added this year’s winner of the Tennant Cup. “It offers others opportunities to make their names at Nairn and it’s an experience they will never forget. It’s a great week, a long one, but it’s one they will thoroughly enjoy. We may be missing players due to the nature of the international game, but others I’m sure will raise their performances and hopefully we can regain that trophy.”
Recognised as one of Scotland’s best traditional links courses, and a past Walker Cup and Curtis Cup venue, Nairn was founded in 1887 with the sweeping coastal course created and shaped beside the Moray Firth through the combined effort of legends Archie Simpson, Old Tom Morris, James Braid and Ben Sayers.
“It’s a great course and I’ve played it a few times,” said Clark. “The Scottish Amateur was there in 2006 and it’s an incredible venue. It’s a tough test, especially when the wind gets going, and I’m sure it will provide a stern challenge. There are not many more beautiful places in the world that you could want to play at, looking across the water.”
Lee Hartley, Chief Executive of Fairstone Financial Management, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Home Internationals for the fourth consecutive year and are very proud of our association with the governing bodies of the amateur game in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
“Fairstone has enjoyed a very strong relationship with Scottish Golf, who we have sponsored since 2010, which has helped grow our brand among golfers and golf clubs in ‘The Home of Golf’ and beyond. As the UK’s largest Chartered Financial Planning firm, we share many of the same values as those enjoyed on the golf course, which will be epitomised by the very best players in the country during what promises to be a fantastic week at The Nairn Golf Club.”
Entry to the Fairstone Home Internationals is free of charge for spectators. Live scoring will be featured on scottishgolf.org, with a daily highlights package shown on Scottish Golf’s social media channels, thanks to support from The R and A.



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