Friday, September 13, 2013


Royal Burgess’ James Ross, picture above by courtesy of the SGU,  has joined an elite group after winning the 2013 Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year award, thanks to finishing as the leading Scot on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).
While Matthew Fitzpatrick and Lydia Ko won the Mark H McCormack Medals as the leading men’s and women’s amateur players on the 2013 WAGR, Ross has claimed the Scottish equivalent as at last Friday’s cut-off date.
Thanks to a string of fine displays in leading British and European events during the season, the US-based 23-year-old has edged out the likes of 2013 SGU Men’s Order of Merit champion Jack McDonald, a three-time domestic winner this season.
With Ross flourishing at European level – notably joint-winner of the individual stroke play at the European Amateur Team Championship en route to Scotland’s runner-up placing  and finishing just outside the top-10 at the European Individual – he accumulated sizeable WAGR points to win a close-run race. 
Ross, McDonald, Graeme Robertson, Grant Forrest and Bradley Neil all featured inside the top 100 of the WAGR at various points during the year, but former Boys international and 2011 Scottish Amateur semi-finalist Ross was top Scot at the finish (97th on WAGR).
He joins a Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year roll on honour that features the likes of Andrew Coltart, Dean Robertson, Steven O’Hara, Richie Ramsay, Callum Macaulay, James Byrne, Michael Stewart and last year’s winner, McDonald.
Robertson (Glenbervie) and Forrest (Craigielaw) came second and third behind Ross, with Kilmarnock Barassie’s McDonald and Neil of Blairgowrie fourth and fifth respectively.
Having shone at the Lytham Trophy to just miss out on a top-20 place, Ross went on to finish third at the Welsh Stroke play, ninth at the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play and 12th at the St Andrews Links Trophy.
Ross then highlighted his season to finish joint-winner in qualifying at the European Amateur Team Championship in Denmark – one of only two players under par – before playing a pivotal role on his debut in Scotland’s run to the final where they narrowly lost to England.
The Lothians man was then top Scot in 11th place at the European Individual in Spain to further underline his ability in elite company, before finishing the season by earning another Scotland team cap in the Home Internationals at Ganton.
Ross, now in his final year at the University of Houston, said: “To win this award is a great accolade and definitely caps off my year.
“I had a good year, particularly the most competitive summer I’ve had. I played well in big European events, like the European Individual, and jumped up the rankings on the back of that.
“Coming close in Wales kind of set me up for the year. I had a chance to win there, but ended up third to Rhys Pugh and Garrick Porteous, who both went on to play in the Walker Cup.
“I was also very proud to play for Scotland, it was a big achievement to do that, as I’ve always wanted to play for my country.
“It was fairly close on the WAGR, we’ve all been ahead at some point. Graeme had a good mid-summer and was in contention for the Walker Cup, as was Grant, who also played in The Open.
“Jack has done very well domestically, with back-to-back wins to end the season. Bradley also won the Scottish Boys. Everyone has had their highlights; everyone has done well in patches.”
Ross, who also finished fourth at the East of Scotland Championship but found his domestic appearances restricted due to his US schedule, believes the future of Scottish amateur golf is strong with a clutch of young players developing.
He added: “I think the future is looking pretty bright, we’ve got a good group of young guys coming through and there was a good buzz about the team this summer, a real competitive spirit.
“Personally, it’s been exciting. I’ve developed the last four years over in college. A lot of guys come over here and kind of plateau, or almost get worse, but I’ve definitely improved.
“I’ll work with my swing coach, Kevin Kirk, again over the winter and look to hit the ground running in 2014.



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