Wellsgreen kids get their hands on the Claret Jug

Golf Pro Peter Whiteford at the Little & Large Open with the Claret Jug and Jordan Tosh, 10, Kirkcaldy, Alex Dickson, 6, Kirkcaldy, Amy Melville, 11, Dunfermline, Beth Farmer, 10, Leven & Amy's dad Neill -  Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
Golf Pro Peter Whiteford at the Little & Large Open with the Claret Jug and Jordan Tosh, 10, Kirkcaldy, Alex Dickson, 6, Kirkcaldy, Amy Melville, 11, Dunfermline, Beth Farmer, 10, Leven & Amy's dad Neill - Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
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In eight weeks time the world’s top golfers will compete for the famous Claret Jug Trophy at the 144th Open at St Andrews.

However, it was the turn of Fife youngsters to get their hands on the iconic silverware on Sunday as it made a special visit to Wellsgreen Golf Range.

The Open helps to fund golf development work around the world, including a recent grant to Wellsgreen to help build an improved putting and pitching practice facility.

To mark this financial support, the Claret Jug was on display as 48 teams competed in the annual Little and Large Open at the Fife range.

The competition, open to all abilities, saw teams of two, one adult over 21 and one child under 16, compete in alternate shot format over two rounds of Wellsgreen’s six-hole Wee Course.

Pro golfer Peter Whiteford took a break from the Challenge Tour to team up with his eight-year-old niece, Katie Whiteford, who helped inspire her uncle to a seventh-placed finish with a final score of 46.

The tournament was won by father and son duo Julien and James Leek, who shot a 42 to finish one stroke ahead of runners-up, Bob and Jack Lockhart. Duncan Weir, the R&A’s executive director, presented the prizes.

Wellsgreen owner Stewart Whiteford, who finished sixth with daughter Rebecca, said: “The tournament went really well - it was the best one we’ve done.

“It was great to have the Claret Jug there and the R&A gave us replica flag sticks from the Open, which added to the experience.”

This year’s Open certainly seems to have inspired local youngsters, with Wellsgreen reporting an increase in junior membership to the extent that it has had to extend three of its Tiger classes to cope with demand.

Whiteford added: “We’re seeing more youngsters getting interested in golf around here, which is great.”

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend The Open at St Andrews between July 12 and 19.