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Blairgowrie pupil, aged 14, wins Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge

ST ANDREWS, September 23, 2018 – Cormac Sharpe, aged 14, a S3 pupil at Blairgowrie High School, was the overall scratch winner of this year’s Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge, shooting an impressive 70 on the Duke’s Course in St Andrews.

Other winners included Isabella Lehne, a student at St Leonards School in St Andrews, who took the Senior Girls title, Josh Dolzanski of Breadalbane Academy, who won the Senior Boys title, and Lucy Hall from George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh who took the honours in the Junior Girls competition.

This year’s event was even bigger and better, featuring an expanded field of young golfers, from across Fife, Tayside and the east of Scotland. It included competitors from as far afield as Aberdeen, Moray and Glasgow. A total of 31 schools took part in the tournament.

Playing off one handicap, Cormac, whose net score of 69 also won him the Junior Boys title, began playing golf at four, completing his first round of 18 holes before entering primary school. He competed for the Scottish Boys team in the Under-16 Quadrangular event in Netherlands earlier this year and has been named for the Scotland junior squad for 2019.

Speaking after Sunday’s Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge, Cormac said: “I’m really delighted to have won the scratch prize as this is my first time competing in this event. I want to keep developing my game and hope that one day I can turn pro and play on the European Tour. Before that I’d be keen to go to university in the US on a golf scholarship when I’ve finished high school in Scotland.

“I’m also looking forward to coming to this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to watch the pro’s and continue to learn from them.”

Meanwhile, Isabella Lehne won the Senior Girls title with a net score of 69. The 14-year-old from Dusseldorf, Germany plays off a handicap of 19. She has played golf for five years, competing regularly for her home club near Dusseldorf before moving to Scotland to attend St Leonards School in St Andrews.

Senior Boys winner Josh Dolzanski, aged 14, of Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy carded a net score of 68 after a round of 74. Playing off six handicap, he is a member of Taymouth Castle Golf Club and also competes for his school team.

The Junior Girls category winner Lucy Hall, a 13-year-old S2 student at Edinburgh’s George Heriot’s School, is a member of the city’s Craigmillar Golf Club. She made her debut for the Scottish Girls team earlier this year and shot a net 73 off a handicap of 10 in this year’s schools golf tournament.

The winners will be invited to receive their Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge prizes at the Old Course, St Andrews on the final day of this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday, October 7. All the participants will also be invited, together with their parents and a school representative, to attend an exclusive golf clinic on the Championship practice ground given by the internationally renowned golf coach Robert Baker.

Baker said: “It’s great to see a growing number of youngsters competing in this year’s Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge, underlining the health of the game amongst school-aged players. The event is encouraging young people from Fife, Tayside and many other parts of Scotland to participate in competitive golf.

“Getting the right direction and coaching early enough in their career can really help young golfers develop their game and maximise their full potential. I congratulate all of today’s competitors and look forward to meeting these talented youngsters at this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where they will participate in our annual coaching clinic.”

With a prize fund of US$5 million, the Alfred Dunhill Links incorporates two separate competitions – an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers and a team championship in which the professionals are paired with amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.

Among the entries for the Championship, which takes place from October 4-7, are Brooks Koepka, the current US Open and US PGA champion, plus Major Championship winners Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Louis Oosthuizen and Graeme McDowell, and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, winner of the Senior British Open in July. Top Americans Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar are also playing.

Tyrrell Hatton is hoping to become the first man to win the Alfred Dunhill Links trophy three straight times, but he will be up against some stiff competition. The field also includes Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, winner of the European Masters, Eddie Pepperell, Matt Wallace, recent winner of the Made in Denmark event, and Oliver Fisher, who became the first golfer on the European Tour to shoot a 59, in the Portuguese Masters on Friday.

Among the other Alfred Dunhill Links winners in the field are Branden Grace, Simon Dyson, Stephen Gallacher, David Howell, Robert Karlsson and Michael Hoey.

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship celebrates links golf at its finest and is played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie, venue for July’s Open Championship, and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.

With a prize fund of US$5 million, the Alfred Dunhill Links, which raises substantial funds for charity each year, incorporates two separate competitions – an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers and the Team Championship, in which the pro’s are paired with amateur players, creating a unique atmosphere.

A ‘super group’ of great music stars, past and present, will be playing, including current stars – Keane’s Tom Chaplin, Linkin Park’s Dave Farrell, music giant Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden, former lead singer of Westlife, Mike Rutherford from Genesis, country and western star Clay Walker and hugely popular legends Huey Lewis and Bon Jovi’s Tico Torres.

Sports stars taking part include Sir Steve Redgrave, making his 18th straight appearance, cricketers Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen, Allan Lamb and Shane Warne, Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll, 20-times National Hunt champion jockey Sir Tony (A.P.) McCoy and Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit.