Monday, August 07, 2017

Matthew Clark named as playing captain of
Scotland team for Home Internationals 
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie has heaped praise on Sam Locke after the north-east player achieved a storming success in the Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship at Prestwick.
The 18-year-old produced a hugely impressive display to emphatically defeat Anglo-Scot Ryan Lumsden (Royal Wimbledon) 9 and 8 in Saturday’s 36-hole final over the famous Ayrshire links.
It was the biggest margin of victory in the match-play final since Colin Montgomerie triumphed at Nairn 30 years ago.
For Stonehaven-based Locke, a member of the Paul Lawrie Foundation since he was aged 14 and a former Scotland boy international, it was his biggest success to date.
Lawrie watched the amateur dramatics unfold from afar, given he has been competing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
But the Ryder Cup winner still found time to offer words of praise for Locke and said: “We’re so proud of Sam’s golf, but also of him. He is a lovely lad who works very hard at his game and is developing very well. Huge congratulations to Sam – he deserves it.”
In a remarkable morning’s golf at Prestwick, Locke was 10 up at lunch after playing the opening 18 holes in four under par as an off-colour Lumsden, who played for Scotland in the European Amateur Team Championship last month, struggled to seven over.
Despite an early repost in the afternoon from Lumsden, there was no way back as Locke eased to victory with back-to-back birdies at the 24th and 25th, his short game again proving key.
It was the 90th staging of the Scottish Amateur, with Locke joining a winners’ list that also includes Ronnie Shade, Charlie Green, Stephen Gallacher, Andrew Coltart, Dean Robertson and, more recently, David Law and Grant Forrest.
Locke, meantime, is looking forward to making his Men’s Home Internationals debut south of the border at Moortown from 16 – 18 August after gaining automatic selection to the team following his win at Prestwick.
With another spot up for grabs following the event, the selectors have opted for experience with Matthew Clark (Kilmacolm) making up the 11-man line-up as playing captain.
The 35-year-old again proved his ability with a run to the quarter-finals at Prestwick and will now make his sixth successive Men’s Home Internationals appearance. The banking manager currently sits in third place on the domestic Men’s Order of Merit and said: “I’m delighted to gain my sixth consecutive Homes appearance.
“Huge thanks to Renfrewshire Golf, in particular Ian Storie for the initial belief and continued support over many years, and recently to Neil Marr at Meldrum House for his hard work and advice.
“I’m incredibly proud to be named playing captain, an honour I could never have dreamed of. We have such a talented group this year that we travel with high hopes of bringing the Raymond Trophy back north for the first time since 2012 at Gailes.”
Ian Rae, National Head Coach, added: “It’s great having such a good and experienced player in the team and I’m sure Matt will lead by example. It’s a great achievement to play six Homes in a row.”



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