Saturday, August 07, 2010

BOYS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP - Ayrshire hopes with McDonald and Smith at Barassie Links

Two of Ayrshire's best young golfers will be in the field of 252 when the 2010 Boys Amateur Championship begins at Kilmarnock (Barassie) & Dundonald Links on Tuesday 10th August.

Scottish Boys Internationalist Jack McDonald, of the host club, begins his challenge at 0744 on Tuesday at Kilmarnock (Barassie) with Marc Smith (Troon Welbeck) - pictured right - setting off an hour later, again at the Barassie Links, at 0844.

(The following report on the championship is reproduced courtest of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews)

252 of the world’s best players, aged 18 or under, are arriving on the west coast of Scotland ahead of the 2010 Boys Amateur Championship, which begins next Tuesday 10 August at Kilmarnock (Barassie) and Dundonald Links. 20 nations, including Israel, Hungary, Nigeria, Korea and New Zealand, will be represented at the six-day event.

In the field is Italian Domenico Geminiani, who, in May, became the youngest player ever to compete in a European Tour event, at the BMW Italian Open. The Florida-based 14-year-old plays off a handicap of +3.6.

2010 Scottish Boys Champion Grant Forrest leads a strong home contingent of 47 players, including Barassie member Jack McDonald, who are attempting to become the first Scot to win the title on home soil since Steven O’Hara won at Ladybank in 1998.

Barassie is a course where it’s important to have local knowledge,” explained McDonald (pictured right). “I’ve played at Barassie loads of times and I’ve played Dundonald a lot, too, so that will be an advantage at the Boys Amateur. I’m feeling pretty confident going into it.”

In a change to the event, the Boys Amateur will now mirror the format of the Amateur Championship. 36 holes of stroke play qualifying will be played over two days, 18 holes at both Kilmarnock and Dundonald, before four days of match play take place solely at Barassie.

Kilmarnock (Barassie) started its association with R&A championships in 1948, when it welcomed the Boys Amateur for the first time. Since then, it has staged five Boys Home Internationals, two Jacques Leglise Trophy matches, stroke play qualifying for the 2001 Amateur Championship, and a further four Boys Amateurs, two of which were won by Howard Clark and Ronan Rafferty in 1971 and 1979, respectively. It has also acted as a final qualifying venue when The Open has been staged at Royal Troon or Turnberry.

Despite only having opened for play in 2003, Dundonald has already hosted the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy event, as well as qualifying for The Senior Open Championship and a stage of European Tour Qualifying School. The Boys Amateur, past winners of which include Sir Michael Bonallack, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia and Rhys Davies, is the first R&A Championship to be hosted by Dundonald.

The 2010 Boys Amateur Championship begins on Tuesday 10 August, with the 36-hole final taking place the following Sunday. The winner will receive an exemption into the 2011 Amateur Championship, which will be held at Hillside and Hesketh.

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