A group of 14 young East Lothian Golfers representing the East Lothian Junior Golf League and “Scotland’s Golf Coast” have returned from Pinehurst, North Carolina, where they competed against the best Junior Golfers in North Carolina at the world famous Pinehurst Golf resort, site of several previous US Mens and Ladies Open Championships, and a Ryder Cup.
The Team of 10 Boys and 4 Girls, were invited to make this trip based on their participation and performance in the East Lothian Junior Golf League during 2018. During their 11 day visit to Pinehurst they stayed, part of the time, in the 5 star Carolina Hotel, just a short distance from the Pinehurst Clubhouse which serves 5 of the Pinehurst courses. Some of the Players played up to 10 rounds of golf in total! The group Leaders were Ric Foulner, Junior Convenor at the West Links, Frances Hall, the East Lothian Girls Junior Convenor, Greg Cookson, Junior Convenor at Gullane assisted by his wife Ruth, who all contributed greatly to a successful tour and our Junior League owes them a vote of thanks.
The Boys and Girls then stayed in separate locations, the Girls with friends in Pinehurst, and the Boys in a Villa on the edge of Mid Pines Golf Course. The hospitality of the many friends in Pinehurst and Southern Pines, for accommodation, meals and transport etc, was nothing less than wonderful!
The main golf competitions were called “The Winternationals” and results can be seen at these websites – http://www.juniorgolfpinehurst.com and eastlothianjuniorgolf.org.uk. In the first weekend, the Players played two rounds over the par 72 Pinehurst No. 4. Course. Malachy Hayward of Craigielaw tied for 3rd place with scores of 79 and 76, closely followed in 6th place by Joseph Cookson of Gullane with 78 and 79. Lucy Hall of Gullane and Carys Irvine of Craigielaw were our top Girls in 6th and 7th places.
During the middle week, our Boys Team played against the local Pinecrest School team, again over Pinehurst No. 4. They were playing for the Duncan McLean Quaich, a trophy donated in the memory of a Gullane golfer who died in 2016 aged just 20. The Boys were defeated by a score of 4.5 to 0.5 with our saviours being Finlay Mackenzie of Gullane and Ruaridh McKenzie of the West Links, who grabbed a half point. A great night socialising with the American Team followed at a fun Pizza Restaurant owned by the school golf coach. Thanks Coach!
We are very grateful to the US Kids Golf organisation, a sponsor of our League, who gave our 4 Girls courtesy over their Longleaf GC. Whilst there, the Girls also received some free coaching on “Trackman.” Many thanks to US Kids!
The mid-week programme included games over Mid Pines and Pine Needles, the latter being the site of 3 previous US Womens Opens and this venue will again host that event in 2022. One day, all the Players went to the prestigious Duke University in Raleigh Durham, which has produced some famous Players through their College Golf programme. Some of our Players played their course, some took a tour of the Campus, and some did both. Many thanks to Duke! On another day, all of the group were generously given tickets by another friend of our League, to the Carolina Hurricanes Ice Hockey Match v. Edmonton Oilers, with “The Canes” winning 3 – 1. A 3 minute video of highlights of the game is here –
Everything was building up to the 2nd set of “Winternationals which involved rounds over the US Open Championship course Pinehurst No. 2 on Saturday, followed on Sunday with a round over Pinehurst No. 1. Sadly, the worst weather of the trip moved in causing rain delays, and even the hardy Scots were challenged! However, the Boy who came out on top was one of our own Team – Sam Westwood of Gullane, who scored an impressive 79 over the Par 72 US Open course at Pinehurst #2 and followed that up with an excellent 73 over the easier Par 70 Pinehurst #1 course. Sam tied with North Carolina player Owen Swavely but Sam prevailed on the first hole of the play-off with a par 4. He was presented with a trophy for his excellent win. Photo attached. A full report with all the scores from the weekend can be seen here at http://www.juniorgolfpinehurst.com Our Girls were badly affected by the weather and did not play at their best, but they will bounce back! Our thanks are due to the organisers of the Winternationals who put on great tournaments, and we hope to be sending another Team in February 2020.
The whole trip was a memorable experience for these young Players and it would not have been possible without financial support from all the parents involved, from the volunteers leading the group, and from various sponsors, so we owe them all a big thanks, particularly to East Lothian Council, “Scotland’s Golf Coast,” Paul Salmon of PSL Flooring, for the funds to kit out the Players and Leaders with Team shirts and tops, with the sourcing ably carried out by Martyn Huish, Golf Professional at North Berwick. We would also like to thank all the organisers and friends in the Pinehurst area who provided facilities and hospitality to the whole Team during their stay.
Dave Warren, League Secretary
The attached photo shows our Team, L-R – Malachy Hayward, Connor Currie, Euan Canavan, Sam Westwood, Sam Hall, Carys Irvine, Mollaidh Nicholson, Lucy Hall, Lucy Morrison, Joseph Cookson, David Halliday, Murray Cooper, Finlay Mackenzie, Ruaridh McKenzie.
The winner of the Boys event – Sam Westwood.
Our four Girls in good spirits at a damp Pine Needles. L-R Lucy Morrison, Carys Irvine, Lucy Hall, Mollaidh Nicholson
Our Boys Team with the Team from Pinecrest School at the statue of Payne Stewart and with our East Lothian County and Scotland Flags.