Ben and Connor tee it up in South Africa

Ben Kinsley. Picture by Kenny Smith.
Ben Kinsley. Picture by Kenny Smith.

Teenage duo Ben Kinsley and Connor Syme are hoping to shine in South Africa on the Scottish Golf Union’s winter performance training programme.

Ben, of St Andrews, and Connor, from Drumoig, are part of a nine player squad which left for the Rainbow Nation this week.

Their schedule will include four major events on the South African circuit, the annual Test Match against the host nation and a triangular match against the South African Golf Development Board and the South African Golf Association.

As well as playing in events, the golfers will be part of a training camp to work on their short game, swing and general fitness.

The squad will work with the South African Golf Development Board which helps children from underprivileged areas into golf, with the SGU intending to send surplus clothing to South Africa for their use.

Twelve months ago the performance programme proved hugely beneficial to Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil who credited his efforts in South Africa as a reason for going on to enjoy a successful season.

With Neil preparing to travel to the US later this month for practice and a run of events in the lead up to his invite to The Masters at Augusta National, his fellow Scots also hope to progress.

The winter training programme in South Africa follows the great success of past trips, with Scots regularly returning with silverware, including Michael Stewart, David Law and Brian Soutar.

This year, the players begin their competitive action at the Gauteng North Stroke Play on January 23, before the South African Amateur Stroke Play starts on February 3.

Steve Paulding, Scottish Golf performance manager, said: “We have an exciting group of players in 2015 with a number of them looking to challenge for a Walker Cup place in September at Royal Lytham.”

During the autumn Kinsley took part in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship when it was staged locally.

The venture is funded by Aberdeen Asset Management, South African businessman Johann Rupert, the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation, coupled with funding from sportscotland.