Scotland Round-up: R&A announces club captain

Our round-up of the latest club news from Scotland

A former investment banker has been announced as the latest captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Gavin Caldwell has been nominated as captain for the 2015/16 season by past captains of the club and will begin his year in office with the traditional driving-in ceremony on the first tee of the Old Course in September.

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A former trustee of Portmanock, Caldwell was club captain and chairman of the Walker Cup committee when it hosted the 1991 event. He enjoyed a successful university golf career and is president of Dublin University Golfing Society, playing to a handicap of 12.

The R&A have also announced that Major winning golfers Sir Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle have become honorary members of the St Andrews club.
‘St Andrews frames many of my most treasured memories in golf." They join fellow Open champions Peter Thomson, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Robert de Vicenzo, Tony Jacklin, Lee Trvino and Tom Watson in becoming honorary members.

Faldo said: “St Andrews frames many of my most treasured memories in golf, including those of my second Open win 25 years ago. I am honoured to receive this invitation and look forward to celebrating nearly 40 years as a professional at the home of golf in July.”

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Former Masters champion Lyle said he was delighted to receive the membership in recognition of his fulfilling a lifelong ambition of winning the Open.

“I will never forget how it felt to lift the Claret Jug,” said Lyle. “Golf has given me a great deal over the years and I feel privileged to have been invited to become part of this great club.”

One hundred holes in one for Ayrshire professionals

Four Ayrshire professionals are taking on a charity challenge to play six of the region’s championship courses in a day.

The event takes place on June 20, with three of the venues to be played by the golfers having hosted the Open 36 times between them.

Ricky Hall of Trump Turnberry said: “We all met working at Turnberry at various times over the years and we have all stayed in touch and remained friends.

“When we started to discuss the idea of doing something for charity it really had to involve golf and it’s great to be able to base the concept around these six courses.

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“We’re starting by teeing off on the Ailsa course at 4am so we’re hoping that our alarm courses are working properly.”

Joining Hall will be David Fleming of Prestwick, Kieron Stevenson of Royal Troon and Guy Redford of Dundonald Links.

The challenge will raise funds for the Eric Trump Foundation and CLIC Sargent, with Yorkhill Children’s Charity to also benefit from its partnership with the foundation.

Fleming added: “It’s all for a fantastic cause, so we’re looking forward to getting started, raising some money and perhaps even making it an annual event.”

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Porter picked for Scots World Junior bid in Japan

Newly-crowned Scottish Boys champion Will Porter has been named in a four-man Scotland team at this summer’s Toyota World Junior Golf Team Championship in Japan. 

Having claimed a bronze medal at last year’s European Boys Team Championship in Norway, the Scots have qualified for next month’s event for the first time since 2007.

Only three other European countries are taking part and Carnoustie’s Porter, 17, who won the Scottish Boys Championship at Dunbar last month, is joined in the side by Calum Fyfe from Cawder, the 18-year-old who topped last year’s Scottish Hydro Boys Order of Merit rankings.

Marriott Dalmahoy’s Murray Naysmith, 17, runner-up to Fyfe in last year’s merit standings, and Harburn’s Christopher Curran, 18, joint-winner with Porter of the SGU Junior Tour event at Longniddry in March, make up the side.

“I’m over the moon to get into this team,” said Porter. “Going and playing in Japan is going to be different to anything I’ve played in before. I’m excited and looking forward to it. It’s a cool event to play in, representing Scotland.”

Captain Scott Knowles leads the young Scots, with national coach Ian Rae also travelling. The championship takes place from 16–19 June and is being staged at Chukyo Golf Club in Toyota.

Awesome Ayrshire crowned area kings

Ayrshire were crowned the Area Team ‘Kings’ at Blairgowrie today, defeating Dumbartonshire in a closely-fought final to land only their third title in the event’s 38-year-history.

Inspired by Jack McDonald, the GB&I Walker Cup squad member, Ayrshire secured a 5.5 – 3.5 triumph in the GolfKings-sponsored Scottish Area Team Championship over the Lansdowne layout.

Having also ousted the home favourites, Perth & Kinross, in the last eight, before taking the scalp of Renfrewshire in the semi-finals, Ayrshire’s success in the nation’s premier amateur team event was richly deserved.

McDonald ultimately proved the hero, with his two victories in the final adding to notable singles wins on Saturday over Amateur champion Bradley Neil and Matthew Clark, 3rd in last year’s SGU Men’s Order of Merit.

The 2012 Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year said: “I had played well coming in here, after good finishes at Royal Lytham and in Ireland, and played well again this week. I’ve just been solid, and the course tends to suit me.

“I had a fair idea myself and Ewen would end up playing each other and it was a good match. It’s nice to win as part of a team, especially as I don’t get to see these guys a lot. It’s been great to play with them and have a good week.”

On his Walker Cup goal, the 22-year-old added: “I’ll just keep plugging away, try my best and see how it all pans out. Hopefully my game keeps improving during the season. We had a dinner get-together down at Lytham, briefly talking about the event, so we’ll see what happens.”

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