9am Round-Up: Sandy Jones to be next Golf Foundation president

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Sandy Jones is set to take over from fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie as President of the Golf Foundation.

The PGA chief executive will assume the role next month, becoming the latest in a line of Scots to hold the prestigious position with the golf charity.

“The Golf Foundation’s Trustees all believe that Sandy Jones will make an excellent President of our charity, following in the great footsteps of Colin Montgomerie, and before him, Ken Schofield and Bernard Gallacher,” said chairman Charles Harrison.

“Sandy is one of the best connected and most respected figures in all of golf, and we are delighted he will be our new President.”

The recognised golf charity makes the game and its benefits available to young people, and helps them to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport.

“Sandy’s unrivalled experience and knowledge of all stages of golf development will be of great help in further developing our close relationships with PGA Professionals as we work together to grow junior membership and retention levels in our golf clubs,” added Harrison.

Jones cut his teeth as a golf administrator as secretary of the Scottish PGA before moving to the national HQ at The Belfry.

“I was thrilled to be asked to take on this role and I’m aware that I’m following some really great names as President in recent times,” he said.

“This charity is all about helping the next generation of young players, so if I can help the Golf Foundation team through my experience in the game I’ll be delighted.

“I’ve worked for the PGA for 37 years but I may never have started my career in golf administration had I not been asked to help run my home club’s junior section when I was in my twenties. That was my actual starting point.

“My mother showed me how to play golf in the garden when I was six; I became a junior member of Mount Ellen Golf Club, Glasgow, at the age of 12.

“These are vivid memories and I never forget what it is like to be a junior member starting out in the game, needing the support of adults at the golf club.”

Montgomerie has served the Golf Foundation as President for five years in a period of successful growth for the charity.

In this time, he has publicly championed HSBC Golf Roots, which introduces golf to young people of all backgrounds and abilities in schools and communities.

It creates a pathway to playing regular golf at the golf club or driving range, utilising the PGA-endorsed Junior Golf Passport learning programme.

“Colin Montgomerie has been an inspirational President for the Golf Foundation as this charity has sought to raise itself to a higher level in terms of enriching the lives of young people through golf,” said Golf Foundation chief executive Brendon Pyle.

“We look forward to thanking him formally, and wishing him well for the future, when it is time for Colin to hand over the reins to Sandy at our AGM in April.”

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Leading qualifier Rory Franssen was brought crashing back to earth as he suffered a first-round exit in the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship at George Golf Club today.

The Inverness teenager was always behind against home player Philip Kruse but birdied the both the 15th and 17th to take the match the distance before losing by one hole.

The four other Scots to qualify for the match-play phase all had later start times, with Cawder’s Calum Fyfe two up at the turn on Zimbabwe’s David Amm.

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The Renaissance Club in East Lothian is to become member-owned and governed after a third-share held by the family trust set up by the late Duke of Hamilton was bought out.

The development, which coincides with the club’s tenth anniversary, has been hailed as a “new beginning” by Archerfield Estates Limited, which remains involved in a landlord’s capacity.

“We believe this change of ownership structure allowing our members to become equity participants in the partnership will set the club on a long-term path to create a world-class golf club,” commented Jerry Sarvadi, the club’s founder and CEO.

Invest Archerfield LLC, a US-based Limited Liability Company also founded by Sarvadi and his five brothers, will continue its ownership participation and support.

“The Sarvadi family commitment to this club has been and will remain far more than just an investment but rather a testimony of our dedication to the great game of golf and our love for the home of golf, East Lothian Scotland,” addeed Paul Sarvadi.

“We are very thankful for the ten year partnership with AEL which formed and established the Renaissance Club through some difficult economic times.”

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Grantown-on-Spey amateur Hannah McCook is to tee up alongside leading names on the Ladies European Tour at the upcoming World Ladies Championship in China.

The 22-year-old has been handed a dream sponsors’ invitation for the event, which takes place over the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills from 10-13 March.

“I’m delighted to receive an invite to the World Ladies Championships at Mission Hills, it’s going to be an amazing experience as an amateur,” said McCook, who finished second in the Argentine Women’s Amateur Open in December and competes in this week’s Spanish Amateur.

“It’s a limited field for professionals, so to receive an invite as an amateur is brilliant.”

With fellow Scots like Pamela Pretswell, Sally Watson and Kylie Walker in the field, McCook hopes to benefit from the exposure of playing in a professional event.

The championship will retain its unique three-in-one format. As well as a 72-hole individual stroke play competition, there is a professional team championship run concurrently. The tournament will also include an individual amateur event, played over 72 holes of stroke play.

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Bonnyrigg-based Jamie McLeary is hoping his European Tour campaign will now include an event that allows him to sleep in his own bed.

It is certainly a possibility following last week’s announcement that the Paul Lawrie Match Play will be held at Archerfield Links in August rather than Murcar Links for for a second year running.

“I’m especially looking forward to coming back to play in Europe for the summer,” said McLeary after ending his phase of the season with a top-30 finish in the ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia on Sunday.

“The highlights will obviously be the Irish and Scottish Open, plus I’d love to play at Archerfield. I’m hoping the Olympics being on the week after will allow me to play in Paul’s event. I’ll be asking for an invitation either way, seeing as I’m local.”

In six starts so far on his return to the European Tour, McLeary made three cuts, including his first top-10 on the circuit in the Tshwane Open.

“The first chunk of season has gone okay,” he added. “I didn’t exceed expectations but didn’t do too badly, either.

“I love being back out on Tour again. Every shot is important, so your focus has to be good.

“I’m, looking forward to rest of season now. One of my friends said to me that I’ll have two or three chances to win this year and it’s just whether I take it or not. I’m hoping he’s right. Only time will tell, I guess.”

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Team Europe has been named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for January following their enthralling and dominant 18½-5½ Asia victory in the EurAsia Cup.

It was an impressive and gratifying performance for Darren Clarke to witness, as the Northern Irishman played the role of captain for the first time in his career.

“I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of Team Europe. They all played a vital role in our victory, so they have all contributed to this victory,” said Clarke.