Saturday, March 30, 2013



Some 10 days before the world’s best meet at Augusta for the first Major of the year, the US Masters at Augusta, the cream of Scotland’s young players will gather at Monifieth Golf Links on Monday (1 April) for the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic season.

While Sandy Lyle will toast the 25th anniversary of his famous triumph at Augusta, the Angus links of Monifieth enjoys the privilege of hosting the prestigious Scottish boys' match-play championship  for the first time. 

The week-long Under-18 event, this year supported by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, is one of the most coveted events on the Scottish amateur calendar. Past winners include Dean Robertson, Andrew Coltart and Steven O’Hara and, more recently, European Tour rookie Scott Henry, who won back to back titles in 2004-05.

First played in 1935 at North Berwick, Monifieth will host the 72nd staging of the championship as a field of 255 players representing more than 130 different clubs bid to emulate last year’s champion from Peebles, Craig Howie.

A putting masterclass from Howie saw him enter the history books as the first Borders player to win the coveted match-play title for Under-18s. In the 36-hole final at Murcar Links, Howie swept aside St Andrews’ Ewan Scott (pictured above) in the afternoon session for a convincing 7 and 6 win.

With Howie now too old to play in the championship, Scott will seek to go one better than last year when the number one seed begins his campaign on Tuesday (April 2). 

The 17-year-old, who claimed his first national title at the Golf Data Lab Scottish Youths Championship last year en route to winning the Scottish Hydro Boys’ Order of Merit, has already been in impressive form across the globe this year, shining in Australia, South Africa and China.

Together with Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil, the second seed at Monifieth, Scott won a gold medal with Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, reached the semi-finals of the South African Amateur Championship and then won his section at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final. 

“I’m playing good golf and confident enough,” said Scott, like Neil a member of the SGU Boys Performance Squad. “I’m going to Monifieth to win, but its matchplay – you can play well and lose or play badly and win. I’ll take one round at a time and see what happens.

“I’m pretty tired so I’ve been resting, but I’ll be ready for Tuesday. It would be nice to win another national title again after winning the Youths last year.” 

Ahead of going to university in America in late August, Scott is focusing solely on his golf this year and said of his experiences so far in 2013: “China was brilliant. Mission Hills was fantastic, a different course and culture, so it was good experience.

“I played well with the SGU Men’s Squad in South Africa and, again, it was a really good experience for me to be away from home for a long time.” 

Bradley Neil, meanwhile, is keen to make amends for last year’s quarter-final defeat to Scott at the 18th. The Great Britain and Ireland cap, who recently represented Scotland at the Boys Quadrangular in France, said: “Ewan and I have known each other for a long time, playing together for Scotland in the Boys’ Home Internationals and at the European Boys for example.

“It was great to see Ewan do well among the Men in South Africa, he has set an example for the Boys, performing so well on the international stage.

“There is a friendly rivalry between us. We’ve got a good friendship off the course. We have a laugh about the golf, but it’s about winning on the course and the Scottish Boys is a big event.”

“I know Monifieth pretty well, as does Ewan, given the Junior Tour has been there before,” added Neil, also 17.
"I’ve been fortunate to have played quite a lot of golf there. It’s a good match-play course.”

Number three seed Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden), who has been performing well while studying in America, along with other top-five seeds George Burns (Williamwood) and Cowglen’s Alan Waugh, a beaten semi-finalist last year, will also hope to shine at Monifieth. 

Connor Syme from Dumfries and County, Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten) and Calum Hill of Tantallon complete the seeds, while other names to look out for could be Connar Cook from Caird Park, who reached the semi-finals last year, Lothians’ Murray Naysmith from Marriot Dalmahoy and Glenbervie’s Ben Craggs, son of Kevin, the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association National Coach.

Deeside duo Craig and Michael Lawrie, the sons of Ryder Cup hero Paul, will also hope to impress, with Paul set to follow the teenagers in action before making his journey to Augusta.




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