National Squads Announced for 2011-12
The Scottish Golf Union have announced a much-changed national squad for 2011-12, with Scottish Golf Performance Manager Steve Paulding relishing the prospect of working with a new wave of talent.
Paul Shields, Conor O’Neil, Brian Soutar and Scott Gibson – all members of last year’s Men’s Squad – retain their places, while further talented players come into a new-look group. Graeme Robertson, who pushed James White all the way in the 2011 Order of Merit race, earns a deserved spot while Grant Forrest is promoted from the Boys’ Squad. Daniel Kay, Scott Crichton and Fraser McKenna complete the Men’s line-up.
The promising Boys’ pool features the rising stars of Scottish Golf. Reigning Order of Merit winner Greig Marchbank, Anthony Blaney, Bradley Neil, Jamie Savage and Ewan Scott retain their squad spots from 2011. Scottish Boys champion David Wilson, Calum Hill, Ben Kinsley and Euan Walker all come into the Boys’ group.
As a result of Walker Cup hero James Byrne, Scottish Amateur champion David Law and Fraserburgh pair Jordan Findlay and Kris Nicol all turning professional in recent weeks, a changing of the guard has taken place within the national ranks. Michael Stewart, another Walker Cup star at Royal Aberdeen in September, is also expected to turn pro after he plays in the South African Open on The European Tour later this month, courtesy of his victory in the South African Amateur in March.
Fifer Greg Paterson, meanwhile, is retaining amateur status but has made the decision he needs to work outside of the game and can’t commit to the full training and competition programme. He is still in discussions regarding his place in the team for next year.
The ever-improving Shields of Kirkhill – runner-up to Law in the South African Amateur - Pollok’s O’Neil, Soutar (Leven GS) and Southerness’ Gibson, now based at East Tennessee State in America, are back in the Men’s group by virtue of their 2011 performances. Three others – White, Philip McLean and Ross Kellett – are still amateurs but they’re weighing up professional careers as they prepare for either the second stage of the European Tour School in early December or the Alps Tour Qualifying, which begins today. If White, McLean and Kellett remain amateur, they will be retained in the national Men’s Squad.
Glenbervie’s Robertson, the European Universities Men’s’ champion, Kay of Dunbar – runner-up to Law at the Scottish Amateur – Aberdour’s Crichton and McKenna (Balmore) make up the pool, along with Craigielaw’s Forrest, now also based overseas in the USA at San Diego.
Of the Boys, Marchbank (Dumfries & County), Neil of Blairgowrie, Lothians star Blaney and Scott (St Andrews) earn more plaudits, after all four were selected for warm weather winter training in Abu Dhabi later this month. Hill (Tantallon), a semi-finalist in the Scottish Boys, St Andrews’ Kinsley, the Scottish Boys Under-16 Open Stroke Play champion, and the consistent Savage of Cawder also feature. Walker (Kilmarnock Barassie) and Wilson (Troon Welbeck) complete the Boys’ group.
Paulding has faced a number of challenges to form the squads for the next 12 months and, although still not completely finalised, the Men’s and Boys’ groups have been put in place to help players and the SGU coaching team prepare for next year.
He said: “The players have achieved their places in the squad through hard work, determination and talent. We have players very able to compete at the highest level, who can commit to the full programme, representing Scotland on the European and World stage.
“We also have younger up-and-coming players who show the potential to reach that stage within the next few years. The challenge of having a number of your top players move on has to be encountered. It adds a different dimension to consistently progressing and developing talent to reach the highest level. I’m excited by the year ahead.”
The National Squads are supported by national team sponsors, Aberdeen Asset Management and TaylorMade-adidas Golf.
National Men’s Squad 2011 - 2012
• Scott Crichton (Aberdour)
National Boys Squad 2011 - 2012
• Anthony Blaney (Liberton)