Two of the north of Scotland’s brightest golfing prospects have been chosen to represent the area in the prestigious Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Castle Stuart next month.
Calum Scott, 14, from Nairn Golf Club, and Sarah Westwood, 16, from Elgin Golf Club, will compete against some of the world’s best young amateur golfers in the event from 17-20 September.
The pair will be following in the footsteps of some notable players, including Rory McIlroy, Matteo Manassero, Pablo Martin, Oliver Fisher and Anna Nordqvist, who have all taken part in the event previously.
The tournament will be played over 54 holes at Castle Stuart, which has hosted the European Tour’s Scottish Open on four occasions.
Calum is a Scottish internationalist, having represented his country in the recent Boys Home Internationals at Royal Dornoch. He played in the same event last year as well as in the European Team Championships and the European Young Masters event.
Calum said: “It’s a great honour to have been invited to represent my home area in this event. It will be a big challenge, but one I’m looking forward to.
“Castle Stuart is so close to home and it’s a course where I’ve played many times and enjoyed, so that will be a big advantage.”
This is only the third year Sarah has competed seriously in golf, having also excelled in badminton, football and tennis.
She won the Northern Counties Ladies Golf Association’s girls championship last weekend, having won the handicap competition in 2016. This year she also took the handicap trophy in Elgin Golf Club’s Ladies Club Championship, finishing runner-up in the overall competition, and also competed in the Scottish Girls Amateur Championship.
Sarah said: “It is a great privilege to have been chosen to play in an event with such history and is known for inspiring young golfers.
“It’s exciting to have this opportunity which can really help push me on to improve my game.”
The 60-strong field will include golfers who are the current holders of their under 18 national Championship, or the winner of a separate but recognised major golfing event in the preceding year.
Calum and Sarah were picked as local representatives in the competition by Peter Abbott, Honorary Secretary of the North District Golf Association; Willie MacKay, Scottish Golf’s Club Development Officer (North); and Stuart McColm, General Manager of Castle Stuart Golf Links.
Stuart McColm said: “We wanted to include two local players who are performing well and will benefit from taking part in such a highly-regarded event.
“Calum and Sarah stood out as ideal candidates to represent this area and I’m sure it will be a great experience for them and they will benefit enormously from taking part.”
The competition is supported and overseen by officials of the R&A, golf’s governing body, and counts towards the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
The Duke of York, who is also The Earl of Inverness, founded the event in 2001 with the aim of promoting the development of junior golf, encouraging competitiveness and friendship between individual champions, whilst providing them with an opportunity to play on leading championship courses against their peers.
It is the first time the event has been staged in the Highlands, having previously been held at other Scottish venues, Royal Aberdeen and Royal Troon, as well as Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool, Royal St George's and the Prince’s Golf Club in Kent.
It is another milestone in the short history of Castle Stuart Golf Links, which was opened in 2009.