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Top Amateurs head for Southerness in Walker Cup bid

28th May 2013 6t

Top Amateurs Head for Southerness in Walker Cup Bid

Frenchman Paul Barjon winner of the 2012 Scotish Amateur Championship

Harbouring hopes of landing a coveted place in September's Walker Cup team, Great Britain and Ireland's leading amateur golfers will descend on Southerness this weekend to impress selectors by capturing the prestigious Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship title (31 May 2 June).

No fewer than ten different nationalities will be represented at the superb Solway Firth links when the action gets underway on Friday morning, as 144 competitors with handicaps of +1.2 or better aim to join a list of famous golfing names on the trophy.

Past champions include former Ryder Cup captains Bernard Gallacher (1967) and Colin Montgomerie, while several other winners have gone on to enjoy successful careers on the European Tour, including Dean Robertson, Stephen Gallacher , Alastair Forsyth, Richie Ramsay and south-west favourite Andrew Coltart, who took the title back in 1991.

The Championship has not been kind to Scotland's finest in recent years however, with the previous four events producing two winners each from England and France. Comrie's Wallace Booth, now forging a career on the second tier Challenge Tour, was the last Scot to lift the trophy at The Duke's five years ago, but a clutch of home-grown talent will be out to make amends at Southerness.

Among the main challengers will be reigning Scottish Amateur Champion Grant Forrest (Craigielaw), who returns home from a successful second year of a University of San Diego golf scholarship, where a win at last month's West Coast Conference Championships has helped establish the 19-year-old as Scotland's leading player in the current World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Local favourite Scott Gibson will also fancy his chances of making home course advantage count, having performed well in last year's championship where he finished tied 18 th , as will Dumfries & County's Greig Marchbank, the leading Scot twelve months ago and the current holder of the Scottish Boys Stroke Play Championship.

Bamburgh Castle's Garrick Porteous will cross the border to lead the English challenge, hoping to impress the watching Walker Cup selectors, while namesake Haydn Porteous, the leading amateur in South African golf, will be aiming to go one better than his joint runner-up finish in last year's championship at Kilmarnock Barassie.

One of Scotland's leading Walker Cup contenders Graeme Robertson, who lost out in a play-off for the Irish Amateur Open Championship earlier this month, will be eager to seize his maiden national title , with two of Scotland's most promising young talents, Ewan Scott (St Andrews) and Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie) determined to underline their potential as they continue their impressive progress from the Scottish Golf Academy ranks.

The challenging 6,728-yard Southerness links hosts the championship for the second time, with Barry Hume setting the course record with a superb five-under par 64 on his way to winning the title in 2002.

Carrick Neill, one of the UK's leading golf insurance providers acting as brokers for around 50% of golf clubs in Scotland, continue their support Official Championship Sponsors for the fourth year in a row.

>> Click here for the 1 st and 2 nd round tee-times for the 2013 Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship.

•  Play will commence at 0700 on Friday and Saturday with the final group teeing off at 1520 in the first and second rounds. The leading 40 players and ties will compete in the final two rounds on Sunday with conclusion of play approximately 1930.

•  Southerness Golf Club is located on the shoreline of the Solway Firth, directly opposite the Lake District to the south and 14 miles south of Dumfries. For more information, visit the club website at www.southernessgolfclub.com

Carrick Neill is one of the UK's leading golf insurance providers and part of the Giles Insurance Group. Endorsed by the Scottish Golf Union, England Golf and the Ladies Golf Union, Carrick Neill provides specialist golf insurance to a large number of golf clubs in Scotland and England as well as thousands of individual golfers. For more information, please visit www.carrickneill.co.uk







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