their first competitive appearances of 2013 are not the only thing Scottish duo Duncan Stewart and Jamie McLeary have in common as they head into the Barclays Kenya Open starting in Nairobi today.
On the back of Stewart, a Grantown-on-Spey man, using a personal shares scheme to help him finish second on the EuroPro Tour money-list last season, McLeary has launched a similar money-raising venture.
Winner of the 2009 Scottish Challenge at Spey Valley, the Midlothian-based player is offering 50 per cent of his 2013 prize-money for 300 shares he’s selling at £100 per share. He said: “I’ve already had a little interest from individuals with the share scheme but what I’m really looking for is to interest businesses to take me up on my offer.”
A member of Team Scottish Hydro for the past two seasons, the 31-year-old, who held off Italian Edoardo Molinari for his victory in Aviemore, is anxiously waiting to discover if he’s going to be included among the players to benefit from that sponsorship scheme this year.
“I don’t think it’s been completely decided yet,” he added. “The share offer is just to get me started really. Having a young family fairly drains your finances so it’s been tough to do anything this winter, and starting out the year is never easy when everything is being put on credit cards.”
McLeary and Stewart are among a ten-strong Scottish contingent in Nairobi, where Andrew McArthur is hoping he can build on his runner-up finish in the second-tier circuit’s curtain-raiser in India a fortnight ago.
“This is the best I have felt at the beginning of a season for a while,” said the former Scottish Amateur champion. “I’ve had slow starts since my year on the European Tour in 2010 because I haven’t been able to plan my schedule as much as I would have liked.
“It wasn’t in my plans to build to this point so gradually, but that’s how it’s worked out so I just need to keep it steady. I had struggled with my putting for a while and now that I’m putting well, it has made such a big difference.
“I’m just looking forward to the season. I feel like I’m ahead of the game now. If you get a good start you feel as if you have that kick start – you’re off and running – so I just want to keep it going.”