Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Murrayshall man will turn pro after 2009 season

Gavin Dear, first Scot to win the Dixie Amateur Championship trophy in Florida where a second-round 62 gave him the lead which he maintained over the third and fourth rounds from a strong field.

Gavin Dear says he'll be an even better

player after another year as amateur

Gavin Dear is back home at Scone in Perthshire for the Festive holidays after capturing one of the oldest and most prestigious amateur golf titles in America.
Over four days at the Heron Bay course, Coral Springs in Florida, the 24-year-old Scottish international took on some of the best young college players in the US in the Dixie Amateur Championship - and beat them all with a 15-under-par aggregate of 273, which included a stunning second-round of 10-under-par 62.
First played 78 years ago, the Dixie Championship trophy has many distinguished names engraved on it, including Jesper Parnevik, Lanny Wadkins, Hal Sutton, Andy Bean and Frank Stranahan. Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia also played in the event before they turned pro, but didn't win it.
At a time when we are bemoaning the fact that Scotland does not have a player in the top 120 in the professional world rankings, Dear's triumph is furthe evidence that our next generation of golfers are capable of restoring the nation's image at the game's top table.
Only a couple of months ago in Australia, Dear, Callum Macaulay and Wallace Booth combined to win the Eisenhower Trophy for the first time for Scotland. Now Dear has become the first Scot to win the Dixie Championship and from being 59th in the R&A World Amateur Rankings has jumped well inside the top 50.
It is, perhaps, no coincidence that Dear, Macaulay and Booth's golf developed at American universities, Dear having spent four years at Lynn University at Boca Raton in Florida, before graduating in 2006 with a degree in marketing.
However, while conceding that his time in the States helped him to win at Heron Bay, Dear is in no doubt that a large part of his rapid progress is down to the work he did recently with Scotland's national coach, Ian Rae.
"My swing coach is Liam Barn at the Noak's Ark range in Perth," said the Murrayshall Golf Club member.
"But I did a lot of work on my short game with Ian while we were in Australia for the world men's amateur team championship and that had has made a massive difference.
"Each time I walk on a golf course now I can see myself shooting a low number. My old coach at Lynn University remarked the other day that he could see the difference in my confidence since last year."
Dear, fellow international Keir McNicoll (who was a student at Lynn University at the same time) from Carnoustie, and another Murrayshall member, Steven Hume from Errol, spent much of December in Florida. For Gavin the time spent in perfect conditions for practising paid off handsomely.
"My old university fixed up accommodation and practice facilities for us and, because of my time over there, I was able to handle different greens and different grasses," added Dear.
"Unfortunately, Keir and Steven just missed the cut, even with level par scores, but I was out there for a week before they arrived and that extra week made all the difference in terms of preparation."
Another huge factor in Dear's arrival on the global golf stage is the competition with his peers.
"Callum Macaulay plays exceptionally well all the time and I knew that if I wanted to raise my game I had to beat him," said Dear.
"Callum is now a professional on the Tour but it was the same with him and all the other guys in the Scotland squad. It's a friendly rivalry and if in a team event one of shoots the lowest score, we are all delighted. But we want it to be a 64 to a 67 or a 68 not a 72 to a 76 or a 77."
Tiger Woods has said that in his first year as a Tour player he gained a huge amount from watching his elders, talking with them and learning from them. It is the same with Gavin Dear and this latest crop of talented young Scottish amateurs.
"Keir McNicoll was out in Portugal with a Scotland training squad recently and he was paired with David Law, the Aberdonian teenager who is being coached by Paul Lawrie.
"Apparently, they hit it off great as a pairing. That's what I mean by players raising their game by competing against the older and more experienced guys.
"I intend to turn pro at the end of the new season and I am already learning from guys who have been playing on the Challenge Tour, players like Richie Ramsay, Andrew McArthur, Eric Ramsay and Lloyd Saltman."
Dear did try to win his European Tour card in November but failed to get through the second stage in Spain after a sudden-death play-off.
"It was a disappointment," he said. "But it showed that I'm good enough to compete at that level and I'm sure I will be a better player after one more year in the amateur game.
"Although Scotland were beaten into second place by Ireland in the home internationals at Muirfield in September, Dear was the star of the home squad, conforming what a strong competitor he has become.
"I've always tried to scrap for everything," he explained. "I might not be playing well, but while some players might throw in the towel, I see a 76 as much better than a 77. After all, the next day I might be really good and make the cut."


Colin Montgomerie may have ended the season 121st in the world rankings, but his stock remains as high as ever, writes Jock MacVicar.
It's estimated that from his tournament play, course design work, sundry contracts - including Aberdeen Asset Managementy, Lexus and Yonex - and his corporate commitments, Colin is raking in early £5million a year.
The reason he is so successful is simple - he works at it and is a class apart when it comes to communication.
Even if he never wins another tournament, Monty will continue to be a big-money winner off the course.



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