Thursday, May 31, 2012


If a Scot can't win the Carrick Neill Scottish men's open amateur stroke-play championship at Barassie, starting tomorrow, the next best thing would be one of the overseas players who has strong Scottish roots.
Step forwad Vaughan McCall. Age 20.  From Southland, New Zealand. Winner of the New Zealand stroke-play and match-play amateur titles.
Vaughan's brother Dion, who lived in Scotland for a year recently, says that the McCalls have strong family links with Ayrshire. One or more of them emigrated to New Zealand in the dim and distant past but they have not forgotten their Scottish ancestry by any means.
"There's a graveyard not far away from the Barassie course on which Vaughan is playing over the next three days, in which a lot of our forefathers are buried," said Dion in an E-mail to
Gives a new meaning to "visiting the relations," doesn't it?
Dion says that Vaughan lives in Gore which he described as "about the size of Turriff - where we have relations as well!"
Vaughan, pictured above,  is on his first trip to Europe and he made a good start last weekend by finishing second in Welsh open stroke-play, althoug beaten a few shots by the winner, Craig Hinton.
McCall aims to play in as many big amateur events, including the St Andrews Links Trophy and the British amateur.
Vaughan will be 21 on August 7. He's rated the best New Zealand prospect for many a day.
Unlike most top amateurs in the UK, McCall is not a full-time amateur. When he can, says brother Dion, Vaughan works on a dairy farm at Kelso - "not the one in the Scottish Borders!"
I complimented Dion on his knowledge of Scotland's geography and he confirmed my suspicion that he had beaten his brother over here:
Said Dion:
"I spent a year on exchange at the Strathclyde Uni in Glasgow in 2009. I had a great year there. I played cricket for West of Scotland CC in Partick. We even played a game at Mannofield in Aberdeen. I worked at the Cathedral House Hotel to fund my trip. 
"I was lucky enough to have time to explore Scotland well. It was fantastic to see the places my forefathers came from. I was only able to fit in one decent game of golf, playing at Lundin Links in Fife. That was a great links."
+In my previous life as a football writer, I remember there was a Walker McCall who played for Aberdeen in the days when the Dons won more matches than they lost, which is certainly not the case these days! Walker McCall, who was a striker and great header of a ball if I remember correctly, came from Ayrshire. Wonder if Vaughan McCall is related to him?



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