Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Walker Cup player Michael Stewart is still ranked No 11 in the world as he retains his amateur status until he sees how he gets on at the Alps Tour Final Qualifying School from November 14 to 16 in Tuscany, Italy.
If, as expected, Stewart turns pro after that it will mean Scotland, for the first time in several years, will not have a single player ranked in the world’s top 100.
In fact, after today’s weekly revision of the World Amateur Golf Rankings knocked Norwich-based, Paisley-born Stuart Ballingall (Dunston Hall) down from No 179 to 410, there will not be a Scot in the top 200 if and when Stewart leaves the amateur ranks.
Only if you are a follower of the United States college golf scene will you have a clue as to who Ballingall is and why he was ranked well above the likes of SGU Order of Merit winner James White (Lundin), runner-up Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie), Philip McLean (Peterhead) and Brian Souter (Leven GS).
The family home for Stuart Ballingall is in Norwich although he was born in Paisley and played for Scotland as a boy.
He earned his world ranking with two very good college golf years (2009-2010 and 2010-2011) as a student at the University of Missouri. He never looked back after winning the very first tournament in which he played in America in the autumn of 2009.
Ballingall did not win again but he produced a string of high finishes.
Ballingall cut short his course at Missouri halfway through the four year schedule and did not return for the start of the new term in August this year.
According to Ed Hodge, the SGU's new Press Officer, Ballingall is pondering his future - obviously taking his time. He is not sure what he wants to do, whether to complete his university education in the UK or to turn pro.
I would say he has missed the boat in both directions until next autumn.

Leading Scots in the updated WAGR are:

11 Michael Stewart (Troon Welbeck).
233 Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie).
258 Philip McLean (Peterhead).
270 Brian Soutar (Leven GS).
280 Ross Kellett (Colville Park).
294 James Ross (Royal Burgess and Houston Univ, USA).
307 Daniel Young (King James VI and Lynn Univ, USA).
311 Greg Paterson (St Andrews New)
352 Paul Shields (Kirkhill)
363 James White (Lundin).
410 Stuart Ballingall (Dunston Hall).
470 Matthew Clark (Kilmacolm).
475 Scott Gibson (Southerness and East Tennessee State Univ, USA).
543 Fraser McKenna (Balmore).
641 Scott Crichton (Aberdour).



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