Thursday, April 05, 2012


 While The Masters at Augusta is set to whet the appetites of all golf fans this week, the first ‘Major’ of the domestic amateur scene tees-off at Murcar Links on Monday (9 April 2012) with the Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys Championship.
First played for in 1935, the match play event is one of Scotland’s most prestigious titles and will be contested in Aberdeen by the country’s leading 256 young golfers (under-18) all seeking to prevail in the 36-hole final on Saturday 14 April.
 Lawrie, Scotland’s leading player on The European Tour in 2011 and competing at Augusta for the first time in eight years after breaking back into the world’s top 50, has strengthened his support for junior golf with his Foundation the new sponsor of the Scottish Boys Championship.
The initial one-year deal with the Scottish Golf Union marks the first time a professional golfer in Scotland has sponsored a SGU national championship event and underlines Lawrie’s massive commitment to junior golf, following the establishment of the Paul Lawrie Foundation 11 years ago.
The 1999 Open champion, who finished 18th in the Race to Dubai rankings last season, is expected to lend his support at Murcar Links immediately after flying home from The Masters. Lawrie has personal interest too, with his eldest son Craig, 16, in the field and Michael, 12, currently second reserve.
Lawrie, a native of the north-east, said: “I’m really looking forward to next week at the Scottish Boys. I’ll be flying straight home from Augusta to Murcar Links and will offer support where I can to all those competing.
“It’s a fantastic event and myself and my Foundation team are delighted to be on board to sponsor the event this year.
“The Scottish Boys Championship is a big competition, it’s run professionally, all the boys are there with their parents and families and it attracts excellent media coverage.
“It has a long and rich history and one which attracts the best young golfers from all over Scotland. I look forward to a great week of competition.”
Lawrie added: “The Paul Lawrie Foundation is committed to supporting junior golf and increasing the opportunities for our young golfers to develop. We are proud to be working towards these goals alongside the Scottish Golf Union and confident our sponsorship can enhance what has already been achieved at the event down the years.”

Previous winners of the Scottish Boys Championship include Andrew Coltart (1987) and Steven O’Hara (1998), while recent champions James White, Michael Stewart and David Law progressed to thrive in the Men’s game. The north-east’s Steven Young (Inverallochy) famously claimed a hat-trick of Boys’ titles from 1993-95.

Last year, Troon Welbeck’s David Wilson emerged as the victor, defeating Liam Johnston at the second extra hole after a remarkable comeback. Wilson is back to defend his title, while other players to look out for could include 2011 Boys’ Order of Merit winner Greig Marchbank, Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil, St Andrews pair Ewan Scott and Ben Kinsley, as well as Anthony Blaney (Liberton), joint-winner of the opening Scottish Hydro Junior Tour event at Gullane last weekend.

Marchbank, the 17-year-old from Dumfries & County, said: “I reached the quarter-finals last year and I’m playing pretty well just now, so I’m ready to go. I’ve done a lot of work on my game and on my fitness this winter which has been helpful.

“I know Murcar Links is a tight course and will be a great test of golf. I wouldn’t say there is a favourite, anyone can beat anyone in this event on their day, so handicaps mean nothing.”

The event been staged at some of Scotland’s most historic venues, including North Berwick, Royal Aberdeen, West Kilbride and Dunbar, and returns to Murcar Links for the third time. O’Hara was the winner in ’98 over the links, with Scott Henry triumphing in 2005. The par-71 layout also hosted the 2009 Scottish Open Amateur Strokeplay.

Admission at Murcar Links is free for the week, while live scoring and daily reports will be available on the SGU website, and via the official SGU Facebook page.



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