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Youth Golfers Shine At Schools Golf Challenge

ST ANDREWS, October 2, 2023 – Sam Wilson of Madras College and Reece Kerrigan of Webster’s High School were the overall scratch prize winners at this year’s Alfred Dunhill Schools’ Challenge events, played yesterday at The Fairmont, St Andrews and last week at Carnoustie.

Both events saw a record turnout highlighting the high level of enthusiasm for the sport amongst young local golfers which Alfred Dunhill has proudly supported for the past 20 years.

Sam Wilson, who celebrates his 14th birthday tomorrow (October 3), carded an even par score of 72 on the Torrance Course to take the top prize in yesterday’s competition in Fife. He triumphed after a countback against fellow St Andrews pupil Findlay Hazelwood from St Leonards School, who also shot 72.

Sam, an S3 pupil who plays off a three handicap, is a member of the St Andrews Club who started playing golf at the tender age of two. He got an early taste of international competitive golf aged five when he played in a US tournament at Pinehurst, North Carolina and shot a highly respectable one under. A member of the Fife County Golf squad, Sam was last year’s Junior Boys winner in the Alfred Dunhill Schools Challenge.

Speaking after yesterday’s competition, he said: “It was great to be out there today on a great course in good weather. I felt quite a bit of pressure during the round but I had a nice finish by birdying the 17th and 18th holes. That was definitely the highlight of the day.”

Yesterday’s event saw 164 competitors playing in the sunshine at St Andrews. Among the other highlights was a first-ever hole-in-one for Preston Lodge pupil Calum Robertson who achieved the feat on the 17th hole of the Torrance Course.

Meanwhile 17-year-old Reece Kerrigan from Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir carded an impressive score of 65 (three under par) to win the scratch prize at the Carnoustie event played on the Buddon Course on 24 September.

An S6 pupil, Reece is a scratch golfer. He is a member of the Angus County Junior Golf team and he holds a season ticket at Carnoustie. He is also a member at his local Kirriemuir Golf Club where he last year became the first person in its history to win both the Men’s and Junior titles.

Commenting on his win, Reece said: “I’m really pleased to have won the Schools Golf Challenge. I’ve competed in this event a few times in previous years, but because this is my final school year, I was really trying to make the most of my round. It was dry and conditions on the course were good so I was trying to hit the greens and go for birdies whenever possible.”

Other winners at today’s event in St Andrews included Laurenz Bluemel from St Leonards School who took honours in the Senior Boys category. Skye-Rose Tweedie from Dollar Academy won the Senior Girls competition while St Leonards pupil Annie Pennycook was victorious in the Junior Girls category. Fergus Iversen from Cults Academy was the Junior Boys winner.

Winners at last week’s Carnoustie competition, which welcomed a record field of 98 young golfers, were Jane Reilly from St John’s RC High School in Dundee (Senior Girls); and Kyle Thomson from Larbert High School (Senior Boys). Sophie Wright, another competitor from Webster’s High School took the Junior Girls title and Magnus Carter from Forfar Academy won the Junior Boys category.

The winners of both Schools Golf competitions will be invited to receive their prizes at the Old Course, St Andrews on the final day of this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday, October 8. They will also be invited to attend an exclusive golf clinic on the Championship practice ground with the internationally renowned golf coach Robert Baker.

Baker said: “I congratulate this year’s Schools Golf Challenge winners and look forward to meeting these talented youngsters at this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where they will participate in our annual coaching clinic.

“The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is proud of its long-standing support of young, Scottish-based school golfers. For over two decades we’ve been delighted to host the Schools Golf event which encourages young people to participate in competitive play and provides an important boost for the future of the sport in Scotland. By participating in events like the Alfred Dunhill Schools’ Challenge and maximising coaching and mentoring opportunities from an early age, young golfers can develop their game and achieve their full potential.”

This year’s Alfred Dunhill Schools’ Challenge events, open to school-aged boys and girls across Scotland, precedes this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which takes place from October 5 – 8 at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and the Old Course, St Andrews.

New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, who dramatically won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last month, will return to St Andrews to defend his 2022 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title. Major Champion Matt Fitzpatrick and popular American Matt Kuchar are among new entries for this year’s event. Among the other big names in the field seeking the prestigious title are Tommy Fleetwood and local hero Bob MacIntyre, fresh from their victorious performances in Europe’s Ryder Cup team, as well as two-time Alfred Dunhill winner Padraig Harrington, Billy Horschel, and Danny Willett.

The field of leading international golf pro’s will be joined by amateurs from the world of show business and sport including Dutch football superstar Ruud Gullit, record-breaking Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave, who has played in every Alfred Dunhill Links since 2001, and Sir Tony (A.P) McCoy, the great National Hunt jockey.

Admission is free for all spectators over the first three days of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Tickets for the final day, Sunday 8 October, must be purchased in advance. For more details visit: www.alfreddunhilllinks.com/tickets

Sam Wilson