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Youths Out to Emulate Ryder Cup Captain McGinley at Lanark

10th May 2013

Youths Out to Emulate Ryder Cup Captain McGinley at Lanark

Ben Kinsley (Photo Kenny Smith and SGU)

Over 100 young golfers from across the globe will this week bid to follow in the illustrious spike marks of 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and celebrated Scottish duo Martin Laird and Stephen Gallacher when the Golf Data Lab Scottish Youths Championship tees off at Lanark GC tomorrow (Friday).

The prestigious Under-21 event is being staged at Lanark, the 25th oldest golf club in the world, from Friday until Sunday (10 – 12 May) and is sure to provide a feast of golf to match the Scottish Boys Championship at Monifieth last month.

The 120-player field have the chance to join a stellar list of past champions, with McGinley – European skipper for the September 2014 contest at Gleneagles – among the most notable.

The Irishman, who also sank the winning putt in the Ryder Cup at The Belfry in 2002, triumphed in the Youths over Ladybank and Glenrothes in 1988, before going on to enjoy a fine professional career.

Other notable past winners who have progressed to the European Tour include Frenchman Gregory Bourdy (2002) and Scots quartet Laird (2003), Gallacher (1994), Dean Robertson (1991) and Andrew Oldcorn (1979).

Wallace Booth, a World Amateur Team Championship victor for Scotland in 2008, also claimed victory in the event back at Brunston Castle in 2004, while reigning SGU Men's Order of Merit champion Scott Borrowman took the spoils three years later at Erskine.

Last year, St Andrews' Ewan Scott defied the difficult conditions to go one better than his runner-up finish at the Scottish Boys Championship and claim glory at Ladybank.

The talented teenager won by three strokes from his SGU team-mate Bradley Neil after 72 holes, with Ryan Walsh of Kirkcaldy and Kilmarnock Barassie's Jack McDonald, the 2012 Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year, finishing tied third.

Scott has continued his form since, notably impressing across the globe in Australia, South Africa and China this year, as well as again finishing runner-up at the Scottish Boys, this time to Neil.

The Fifer has taken the difficult decision not to defend his title at Lanark, instead competing this week in the Irish Open Stroke Play Championship at Royal Dublin. Neil, meanwhile, runner-up in the Fairhaven Trophies last weekend, is also sitting the event out due to school exam commitments.

However, a truly international field featuring players from Hong Kong, Finland, Germany, England and the Czech Republic will assemble at Lanark. Of the home hopefuls, Scottish Boys semi-finalists Ben Craggs (Glenbervie) and Ben Kinsley (St Andrews) will seek to maintain their form.

Two former Scottish Boys champions are also in the field, Craig Howie from Peebles and David Wilson of Troon Welbeck, while SGU Boys Performance Squad players Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden), Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten), George Burns (Williamwood), Connor Syme (Dumfries & County) and Alan Waugh (Cowglen) will also look to contend.

Ferguson, who finished in a share of 12 th spot at Fairhaven and helped secure Nations Cup team glory for Scotland with Neil and Lauren Whyte, said: “I'm feeling pretty confident. If I can sharpen up a few areas of my game then hopefully it can come altogether this weekend. We had a great team win at Fairhaven and Bradley was unlucky not to win overall.

“The Youths is a step up for a lot of the younger players like me, but I think I can post results over the first few rounds and get in contention,” added the 16-year-old.

Lanark club hopes rest on the shoulders of Kevin Prentice and Alistair Scott, with Craig Lawrie, son of Ryder Cup hero Paul, also in the field.

Graeme Leslie, Managing Director of Golf Data Lab, who's high profile clients include rising Danish star Thorbjørn Olesen, has expressed his delight at sponsoring the event for a fifth year: “I watch a lot of amateur golf and to see the Youths at such a great course as Lanark will be particularly interesting. It's great to see the stars of tomorrow in action.

“From a stats point of view, I'll be expecting to see a good number of greens in regulation hit this weekend. The greens are big, but they're also excellent surfaces so we may well see the winner find his putting touch early and continue it through.

“Working with young academy children as young as 12 right up to the pros on the main tours, we find that each golfer has his or her own unique stats DNA. Even Thorbjørn Olesen, who finished as top European at the Masters, and who has been using Golf Data Lab for almost a year, shows an area where he still needs to improve.”

The Golf Data Lab Scottish Youths Championship will be played over 72 holes of strokeplay from Friday to Sunday, with the leading 40 players and ties after the second round qualifying for the final two rounds on Sunday.

>> Click here for the draw for the Golf Data Lab Scottish Youths Championship

>> Click here for more information on our sponsors, Golf Data Lab.


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