15-year-old duo Grace Crawford and Connor Graham named in Scotland's Euro teams

Fellow 15-year-olds Grace Crawford and Connor Graham have secured Scotland spots for next month’s European Team Championships, with both possibly creating history.

Grace Crawford, pictured playing in last year's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, is in Scotland's side for the European Ladies' Team Championship in Wales. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.
Grace Crawford, pictured playing in last year's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, is in Scotland's side for the European Ladies' Team Championship in Wales. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

North Berwick’s Crawford is set to join forces with Curtis Cup duo Hannah Darling and Louise Duncan and three other in-form players in a strong-looking side for the women’s event, which is taking place at Conwy in North Wales.

Crawford, who was also eligible for the girls’ team, has earned her selection for a bigger test after winning both the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open and R&A Girls’ Under-16 Amateur earlier this year.

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Blairgowrie’s Graham could also have been involved in the boys’ event, but, helped by finishing second in the Lytham Trophy, he secured one of three automatic spots in the men’s team heading to Royal St George’s through leading the Scottish Golf Order of Merit.

Blairgowrie's Connor Graham, pictured reaching the semi-finals in last year's Scottish Amateur at Murcar Links, is in the men's team heading to Royal St George's. Picture: Scottish Golf

It is believed that Crawford and Graham could be the youngest Scottish players to compete in the respective events, which in the past have involved players who have gone on to enjoy successful professional careers.

California-based Niall Shiels Donegan, winner of the Hawaii State Amateur this year, has been named in the boys’ team for a trip to St Leon Rot in Germany while Royal Troon’s Freya Russell, a prolific winner this season, heads the girls’ side for an assignment at Oddur Golf Club in Iceland.

“We are delighted that we have really strong teams across the board,” Stuart Clayton, Scottish Golf’s Director of Pathways and Coaching, told The Scotsman.

“We’ve got some players who have been playing really well this year. We’ve had a number of wins, especially in the women’s game, including young Grace winning the British Under-16 Girls.

“Hopefully we can look forward to some good results come July at some fantastic venues in St George’s, St Leon Rot, Conwy and, though Iceland will be a bit of a different venue, I am sure the girls will also enjoy it.”

Joining Crawford, Darling and Duncan in the girls’ team are Irish Women’s Open winner Lorna McClymont, St Rule Trophy victor Jen Saxton and 2021 Scottish champion Chloe Goadby.

“I was at Royal County Down with the women’s team last year and I thought we had a really good chance of winning and this team is as strong, if not stronger, on form,” added Clayton.

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Rory Franssen, who reached the final in this year’s South African Amateur, joins Graham in the men’s team along with Calum Scott, Lewis Irvine, Calum Bruce and reigning Scottish champion Angus Carrick.

Scott’s big brother, Sandy, had been in the frame, but the Walker Cup player is hoping to be preparing to play in the 150th Open after progressing to next week’s Final Qualifying.

“We recognised Sandy as one of our strongest male golfers, having been world No 7 at one point,” said Clayton. “We did speak to him, but he was unavailable.”

All four events take place from 5-9 July, starting with two stroke-play qualifying rounds followed by match-play flights.

“They are all incredibly important to Scottish Golf,” said Clayton. “It gives the players the opportunity to play against the best players in Europe, so they can test their game both individually and on a team basis.

“We are going with the intention of doing the best we can. We have strong players and there’s no reason why we can’t excel.”

TEAMS

European Amateur Team Championship, Royal St George’s: Rory Franssen (Auchterarder), Calum Scott (Nairn), Connor Graham (Blairgowrie), Lewis Irvine (Kirkhill), Callum Bruce (Duff House Royal), Angus Carrick (Craigielaw).

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European Ladies Team Championship, Conwy: Hannah Darling (Broomieknowe), Louise Duncan (West Kilbride), Lorna McClymont (Milngavie), Chloe Goadby (St Regulus Ladies), Grace Crawford (West Links), Jennifer Saxton (Dunfermline).

European Boys Team Championship, GC St Leon-Rot, Germany: Ross Laird (Glenbervie), Callum Kenneally (Dunbar), Oliver Mukherjee (Gullane), Daniel Bullen (Auchterarder), Niall Shiels Donegan (Mill Valley), Archie Finnie (Royal Burgess).

European Girls Team Championship, Oddur Golf Club Iceland: Freya Russell (Royal Troon), Freya Constable (Prestonfield), Robyn Fowlie (Murcar Links), Katie Graham (Hamilton), Ailsa Brannock (Southerness), Ruby Watt (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre).

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