DUKE OF YORK YOUNG CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2006
STARS OF THE FUTURE ACCEPT ROYAL INVITATION TO PLAY AT LOCH LOMOND'S DUNDONALD LINKS
It is arguably the strongest field yet for the 2006 staging of The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
43 of Europe’s finest Under 18 boy and girl golfers from 22 countries have accepted the Duke’s invitation to compete in his annual, 54-hole stroke-play tournament to find the “Champion of Champions” and win the coveted Trophy. Now in its sixth year, this unique mixed event is being played from 12-14 September over Loch Lomond Golf Club’s links course, Dundonald near Troon, Scotland.
Four members of the European team, who will be tackling the United States in the Junior Ryder Cup match at Celtic Manor the following week, are competing, namely:
Carly Booth, Scotland’s 14-year-old golfing prodigy from Comrie, Perthshire, winner of the European Junior U14 Championship for the last two years and who also finished third in the European Young Masters and the R&A Junior Open; Saskia Hausladen (Germany), winner of the recent European Young Masters girls’ championship; Giulia Molinaro (Italy) and also Laura Gonzalez (Belgium).
Meanwhile, Scotland’s male representatives, the Scottish U18 boys’ open stroke-play champion Shaun McAllister (Craigielaw) and Scottish U18 boys’ match-play champion James White (Lundin) helped Scotland win the boys’ home internationals title at Lossiemouth in August.
But England have the strongest hand, even in a field full of aces, and will have high hopes of providing a worthy successor to Oliver Fisher who won The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Castletown Links on the Isle of Man last year.
Matthew Nixon from Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, 17-year-old winner of the recent British Boys’ Open Championship at Royal Aberdeen, will be bidding for a prestigious title double at Dundonald. So too will England boys’ team captain Sam Hutsby (Lee on the Solent) who beat Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, the 2005 US amateur champion, quite convincingly in the final of the Spanish men’s open amateur championship earlier this year. Then there’s the English U18 boys’ champion Darren Wright (Rowlands Castle) who won the Carris Trophy, and Luke Goddard (Hendon), winner of the Peter McEvoy Trophy on the English boys’ circuit this season.
Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton), the English girls’ match-play champion, will certainly give England a chance of a double whammy by providing both the leading boy and girl at the end of three rounds.
Ireland will be represented by its new boys’ stroke-play champion, Stephen Healy (Claremorris). Adam Runcie (Abergele) will be carrying the flag for Wales and was the most successful member of the Welsh team in the boys’ home internationals.
With National Champions competing from countries such as Spain, Sweden, France, Germany as well as “new” entrants Norway and Slovenia, the tournament continues to expand. With the field split 26 boys and 17 girls, there is obviously a strong chance that a girl will have the lowest 54-hole scratch score and thereby become the first girl to win the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
The Duke of York, himself a single-figure handicap golfer, attends the tournament, hosts the Official Dinner with Dundonald and presents the trophy and prizes at the conclusion of the event and says “he is delighted to see such a strong field participating and Dundonald should prove an extremely testing challenge for these immensely talented golfers”.