A record number of young Scottish golfers have earned full playing rights for next season’s European Tour.
Four players, Grant Forrest, Liam Johnston, David Law and Robert MacIntyre recently advanced to the main schedule after graduating from the Challenge Tour.
The young Scots really made their mark over the Challenge Tour year with Johnston’s -24 wining score at the Kazakhstan Open the lowest by any graduate.
And others may still follow after this week’s final leg of qualifying school which presents a further chance to make the tour,
And some of the credit for the group of Scots’ reaching the main tour has been handed to the St Andrews based R&A for their help in helping those players during their fledgling amateur days.
The R&A makes an important contribution to the European Challenge Tour as part of its commitment to growing and developing the sport around the world and supporting the next generation of golfing superstars.
Forrest started his amateur career with notable wins in the Scottish Amateur Championship, the Scottish Boys Championship and the Scottish U16 Championship.
His performances in reaching the final of The Amateur Championship in 2015 led to his selection by The R&A to play for Great Britain and Ireland against the United States in the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St Annes that year.
He featured in a record-breaking 16½-9½ win by GB&I and recalls the support given to him by The R&A in helping him to prepare for playing in one of the world’s most prestigious amateur events.
He also revisited Carnoustie in July playing in The Open after qualifying at The Renaissance weeks before.
“I played in Great Britain and Ireland’s biggest-ever winning margin in the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St Annes, so that was pretty special,” he said.
“The R&A have helped a lot and they take care of you at every event they organise.
“There is a lot of good memories there.
“They do such a great job of promoting the game.”
The support The R&A gives to players like Forrest does not stop when they turn professional though.
Since its inception, the Challenge Tour has been reinforced by the backing of golf’s governing body, and all 45 players at the recent Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final directly benefited from investment from The R&A
Duncan Weir, executive director – golf development and amateur events at The R&A, said: “The R&A is aiming to double its investment in golf worldwide to £200 million over the next decade.
“We invest in amateur and professional golf to support the development of golfers at all levels of the sport.”