Scots to defend Eisenhower Trophy are bound for Brazil

JAMES Byrne, Ross Kellett and Michael Stewart, the three players selected to stage Scotland's defence of the Eisenhower Trophy, will stick to a winning formula when they head to South America in October.

The trio will follow a similar build up to the event as Wallace Booth, Gavin Dear and Callum Macaulay when they claimed their world team title success in Australia just under two years ago. Then, the Scottish side acclimatised in Sydney before moving on to Melbourne and, on this occasion, they'll head first to Sao Paolo in Brazil to prepare for an event being played in Buenos Aires in Argentina.

"We've looked at the model for the last time and will be sticking to a similar plan," said Scottish national coach Ian Rae. "One of the things in particular two years ago was that the players themselves had a big input into the preparation."

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That preparation, for Kellett and Stewart at least, will include an appearance in a soon-to-be-announced 72-hole invitational event at Blairgowrie as well as playing alongside Scotland's leading home-based pros in next month's Northern Open at Meldrum House. With the triumphant trio from 2008 all having since joined the professional ranks, Byrne (10th in the world amateur rankings), Kellett (59th) and Stewart (104th) were the leading candidates this time around and are all in the Great Britain & Ireland team playing in this week's St Andrews Trophy in Italy.

Kellett's claim for a seat on the flight to South America was strengthened by the fact he won last year's Argentine Amateur Championship at Buenos Aires Golf Club, which is being used for the Eisenhower Trophy along with Olivio Golf Club.

"It was a nice to get a feel for the place last year and it's great to be going back there. I think we have all played some good golf to get into the team," said the Colville Park player. Byrne, produced his best performance of the season at Muirfield, where the Banchory player reached the final of the Amateur Championship. Stewart also made his mark in East Lothian, the Troon Welbeck man producing a classy display at the end of last month to win the Allied Surveyors Scottish Championship.

"We won't be putting ourselves under any extra pressure just because Scotland won the event the last time but hopefully our preparation will pay off," said the Ayrshireman.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Northern Open is to be sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management as part of its growing suport of Scottish golf.