Golf: Champion Ross Bell looking to follow Faldo as Craigmillar winner

ROSS BELL, the surprise winner of the Scottish Champion of Champions at Leven, will be aiming to prove that success was no fluke when he lines up in this weekend's Craigmillar Park Open.

The 21-year-old Downfield man was a deserved victor in the traditional season-opener in Fife last Sunday, carding closing rounds of 67 and 70 to pip rising English star Tommy Fleetwood by a shot.

While Fleetwood isn't heading back up from Southport for the 72-hole event in the Capital, Bell will again be up against most of the players he left in his wake and admits he's hoping to keep impressing Scottish captain Scott Knowles and his fellow selectors.

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Knowles and Wilson Bryson watched him during his final round at Leven and Bell said: "I've never been capped at any level and, like everyone else, I'd love to represent my country at some point.

"I suppose there's a door open with the likes of Gavin Dear and Wallace Booth having switched to the pro ranks since the end of last season but it's still going to be tough to get into the team."

Kilmacolm's Matthew Clark, who lost to Dear in a play-off 12 months ago, is back hoping to go one better, while the field also includes SGU Elite Squad members Ross Kellett, Steven McEwan, Glenn Campbell, Greg Paterson, Philip McLean, David Law, Mark Bookless, Paul Shields and Gordon Yates.

Sir Nick Faldo, of course, won at Craigmillar Park in his amateur days and the chances of another Englishman walking away with the title on Sunday certainly shouldn't be discounted.

In addition to former winner Roger Roper, who is a regular competitor in the event, the contingent from south of the Border includes Rotherham's David Booth, who won the Scottish Youths' Championship at The Roxburghe two years ago, as well as Mike Howard (Royal Birkdale), Jack Senior (Heysham), Kit Holmes (Hunstanton) and Sean Heads (Hexham). As always, there is a sizeable Lothians contingent in this SGU Order of Merit event, though that doesn't include Pumpherston's Paul Drake, who gave a great account of himself in the Champion of Champions.

In his absence, it could come down to the likes of young guns Myles Cunningham (Craigielaw) and Zander Culverwell (Dunbar) to try and make their presence felt with former Lothians champion Mark Hillson admitting his record at the Capital venue is "non-existent".