First South Africa trip for Scottish women

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Four teenagers have been included in a nine-strong group being sent by Scottish Golf to South Africa next week to try to add to some notable tartan triumphs during a 
winter camp.

After coming in for criticism over a proposal to hike up an affiliation fee paid by club members, the governing body has been reluctant to say much about what has been happening in recent months in terms of helping players prepare for the 2018 campaign.

With a new-look squad on the back of players such as Connor Syme, Robert MacIntyre, Liam Johnston and Craig Howie all having turned professional since the end of last season, some of that work has already taken place in Morocco and now it is set to be stepped up on the trip to South Africa. As in the past, it is being supported by the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation, as well as Aberdeen Standard Investments, coupled with funding from sportscotland, with the group including women for the first time.

Aboyne 18-year-old Shannon McWilliam, pictured, will join Gemma Batty (Moffat), Chloe Goadby (St Regulus) and Hannah McCook (Grantown-on-Spey) on a trip in which some of them will play in a maximum of three events as well as taking on South Africa in a friendly.

The men’s group also includes two 18-year-olds in Darren Howie (Peebles) and John Paterson (New Club, St Andrews) as well as 19-year-old Sam Locke, the Scottish champion from Stonehaven. Joining them are Calum Fyfe (Cawder) and Euan Walker (Kilmarnock Barassie) as the Scots head to a happy hunting ground.

Past successes on the same trip have included Craig Ross winning the South African Amateur in 2016 and Johnston lifting the African Amateur last year. New European Tour card holders Bradley Neil and 
Connor Syme also gained valuable experience from 
playing in the Rainbow Nation as amateurs.