Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WORLD AMATEUR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP - Scotland teams head to Argentina

Scotland’s three-man Eisenhower Trophy team , including Ayrshire's Michael Stewart (pictured), arrived in Brazil last night to begin preparations for next week’s World Amateur Championship title defence in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

James Byrne, Ross Kellett and Michael Stewart, the three leading Scots in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, touched down yesterday to begin a week of preparation and acclimatisation ahead of the event, which gets underway next Thursday (28 – 31 October).

The players were joined by SGU National Coach Ian Rae and team captain Scott Knowles at their base in Sao Paulo, using a similar preparation schedule as adopted for Australia two years ago, where Wallace Booth, Gavin Dear and Callum Macaulay emerged as national heroes.

Stewart, who won the Allied Surveyors Scottish Amateur Championship at Gullane in July before lifting the SGU Order of Merit title, was in confident mood with ten days to go until the title defence:

“We’re all raring to go and can’t wait for the tournament to start. This week is very much about acclimatising, sharpening our games and practicing hard before we travel to Buenos Aires on Saturday. Being the first Scottish team to defend the title is an exciting opportunity and one we’re all relishing.” said the 20-year-old from Troon.

“We feel very refreshed having had a break from competitive golf since the end of the domestic season and we’re all going into the event with great energy. Ross has been speaking to Callum Macaulay to learn from his experience and we’ll hopefully speak to Gavin and Wallace this week to help with our build up. ” he added.

The Scots stormed to the 2008 title in Adelaide nine shots ahead of the United States, who finished runners-up with a team that included US Ryder Cup star Ricky Fowler and Stewart believes they will be the team to beat this time around.

“The United States will probably start favourites with the world number one, two and six in their team, having also won the title thirteen times. We expect England to be up there challenging and France have a very strong team, with Romain Wattel in their side, who won a Challenge Tour event recently. We’re confident in our own ability however and knowing what Scotland has achieved in the past, we believe we have a great chance.”

Five of the recent victorious European Ryder Cup team have taken part in the Eisenhower Trophy during the past decade; Luke Donald (2000), Eduardo Molinari, Francesco Molinari, Martin Kaymer (all 2004) and Rory McIlroy (2006), while captain Colin Montgomerie represented the GB&I side back in 1984.

All eyes will be on Louise Kenney, Kelsey MacDonald and Sally Watson this week (20 - 23 October) as they represent Scotland in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship at the same venues, competing for the Espirito Santo Trophy, with Sweden defending the title.

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