Nairn teenager Sandy Scott earns Scottish men’s selection

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Rising star Sandy Scott has seen his eye-catching form in recent weeks rewarded with selection for the Scottish side to defend the European men’s team title in France next month,

The 17-year-old from Nairn had been earmarked at the start of the season to spearhead the Scottish title challenge in the equivalent boys’ event in Austria the same week.

But he has been elevated to the men’s team after finishing sixth in the Scottish Open Stroke-Play Championship at Gullane then runner-up in the St Andrews Links Trophy within the past fortnight.

The event at Golf de Chantilly from 5-9 July will be Scott’s first senior appearance, but it is certainly merited based on his performances over the past 12 months.

He chalked up a first Scottish Order of Merit victory in the East of Scotland Open at Lundin just under a year ago before adding an impressive triumph in the Scottish Boys’ Open Stroke-Play Championship at Royal Burgess.

He was a worthy selection for the Great Britain & Ireland boys’ team for the Jacques Leglise Trophy and has now started to kick on, chasing Irishman Conor O’Rourke all the way to the finish at St Andrews last weekend.

Scott will join forces in France with three members of last year’s victorious side in Sweden, namely Walker Cup duo Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden) and Grant Forrest (Craigielaw) as well as Connor Syme (Drumoig).

Syme helped secure his spot by winning the Australian Amateur Championship earlier in the year but subsequent victories for Craig Ross and Barry Hume in the South African and Welsh equivalents respectively have not proved enough for either of them to make the six-man team.

Recent form has also been a factor in Peebles player Craig Howie and Jamie Savage from Cawder securing the final two spots. Howie, the 2013 Scottish Boys’ champion, has posted three top-10 finishes in recent weeks, while Savage shared second in the Lytham Trophy and tied fourth in the Links Trophy.

“A number of our male players are performing very well and are ranked highly on the World Amateur Golf Ranking,” said Scottish Golf Performance Director Steve Paulding. “We have great strength in depth, as shown by those playing well domestically in recent weeks to force their way into the team.”

The team for the women’s equivalent in at Oddur Golf Club in Iceland at the same time has also been selected but doesn’t include either of the two players who fought out the final of the Scottish Championship at West Kilbride last Saturday.

Ailsa Summers, the winner on the Ayrshire coast, was unavailable for selection due to work commitments while runner-up Gabrielle Macdonald has been overlooked.

Scotland’s leading four players on the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking - Germany-based Rachael Taylor, Jessica Meek (Carnoustie Ladies), Connie Jaffrey (Troon Ladies) and Heather Munro (Monifieth) - will spearhead the Scottish title bid.

Joining them will be Grantown-on-Spey’s Hannah McCook and Eilidh Briggs from Kilmacolm.

“Selecting teams is never easy, but I believe we have robust processes and have chosen strong sides on their individual merits,” added Paulding.

“In selecting our ladies’ team, a key criteria was recent stroke average and players have been chosen to give us the best possible chance of qualifying past the stroke play stage and into the top eight matchplay.

“At both team events, we are also looking for players to lay down a maker for selection to the World Amateur Team Championships in Mexico in September.”

Men’s team (club and age in brackets)

Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden, 19)

Grant Forrest (Craigielaw, 23)

Craig Howie (Peebles, 21)

Jamie Savage (Cawder, 22)

Sandy Scott (Nairn, 18)

Connor Syme (Drumoig, 20)

Ladies’ Team

Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm, 23)

Connie Jaffrey (Troon Ladies, 19)

Hannah McCook (Grantown-on-Spey, 22)

Jessica Meek (Carnoustie Ladies, 22)

Heather Munro (Monifieth, 20)

Rachael Taylor (Am Reichswald, 24)