Monty's Course to Host Scottish Hydro Junior Tour
While the US Open, the second Major of the year, is contested at the Olympic Club in San Francisco this weekend, potential future stars of the game will gather on Scotland’s west coast for the third Scottish Hydro Junior Tour event of the season in Ayrshire.
Rowallan Castle, designed by victorious former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie only a few miles from his hometown of Troon, is the venue for a 51-strong field to assemble in pursuit of success in the 72-hole stroke play competition.
While SGU Boys’ Order of Merit leader Ewan Scott (St Andrews) and last year’s merit champion Greig Marchbank (Dumfries & County) are not competing as they prepare for next week’s Amateur Championship at Royal Troon and Gailes Links, a host of Under-18 talents will vie for victory.
Cawder’s Jamie Savage, the SGU National Boys’ Squad player, is in the first group to tee off at 7.30am tomorrow, as he seeks to maintain his form. Savage claimed an impressive victory in the last SGU Junior Tour event in May, winning by two shots from Marchbank at The Roxburghe thanks to superb opening rounds of 68 and 66.
“I took a lot of confidence from that win and want to keep things going,” said Savage, who sits third in the 2012 Boys’ Order of Merit standings. “I had a big lead after the first 36 holes and it was difficult to stay focused to get over the line but I did. I don’t see why I can’t compete again this weekend.”
Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil has also been impressive this season, beaten in the quarter-finals by Scott at the Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys Championship and runner-up to him at the Youths. Bradley also notably defeated South African Amateur champion Brian Soutar to help Perth & Kinross claim Moneygate Scottish Area Team Championship glory on home soil, and won the individual title at last weekend’s Dunfermline Building Society Scottish Boys Area Team Championship at Cowglen.
Savage and Neil could well face competition from Peebles’ Craig Howie this weekend, after the Borders youngster secured the biggest win of his golfing days when he lifted the Scottish Boys trophy at Murcar Links in April, with former Open champion and sponsor Lawrie at his side.
Lawrie’s son, Craig, will tee-off at 7.48am on Saturday, with the Deeside player in the company of ex-Scottish Boys champion David Wilson (Troon Welbeck) and Murcar Links semi-finalist Connar Cook (Caird Park).
The Lothians quartet of Liberton’s Anthony Blaney, Alexander Wilson (The Renaissance), Calum Hill (Tantallon) and 15-year-old Murray Naysmith (Dalmahoy) will also fancy their chances, having become history makers by winning the Boys Area Team title for the third year in a row. Blaney and Wilson also shared the honours in the opening Junior Tour event at Gullane.
After investing in junior golf for the next three years, Scottish Hydro is official sponsor of the SGU Boys’ Order of Merit and Junior Tour series. The Boys’ Order of Merit includes three Scottish Hydro Junior Tour events on its schedule in 2012.
Scottish Hydro is already a major supporter of golf in Scotland through their sponsorship of the Scottish Hydro Challenge on The European Challenge Tour and Team Scottish Hydro programme.
The SGU Junior Tour was launched in 2004 to provide leading Scottish Boys (Under-18) with additional competitive play on challenging courses; to provide coaching staff and selectors an opportunity to assess players and their development over such venues; and, to provide an appropriate competition structure and added incentive for young players to pursue higher honours.
Previous winners of the Boys’ Order of Merit include Michael Stewart, David Law and Scott Henry, who are all now in the professional ranks.
Rowallan Castle, Montgomerie’s first course in Scotland at Kilmaurs, opened in 2010 and is a delightful par-71 layout set within one of Scotland’s finest country estates. Players will negotiate winding streams and impressive mature woodlands, with stunning views to Ailsa Craig and Arran in the Firth of Clyde.
The format for SGU Junior Tour Event 3 at Rowallan Castle is 72-hole stroke play with a cut on Saturday night. The top 30 and ties qualify for the final 36 holes on Sunday.