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Scottish hopes to play in Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

October 1, 2014

Three rising stars of Scottish golf will tee up in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week eager to match Bradley Neil's success 12 months ago.

The 17-year-old Neil, from Blairgowrie, finished third in last year's Team Championship - playing with American professional Peter Uihlein - and went on to win this year's 2014 Amateur Championship.  
Now Connor Syme, George Burns and Ben Kinsley are aiming to replicate Neil's success this week.
Thanks to support from the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation, the trio have benefitted from warm weather practice in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa and are looking forward to a memorable week.
"I can't wait to play in the tournament," said Syme, whose dad, Stuart, is a professional golfer. "I got the call on Monday and it's very exciting. I saw Bradley on TV last year playing with Peter Uihlein and it's great that Rory is playing this week too. To be playing in the same tournament as Rory McIlroy is crazy.
 "I've played the Old Course in the St Andrews Links Trophy but I've never played Carnoustie or Kingsbarns, so I'm really looking forward to it." 
Syme, 19,  has had a turbulent 12 months, breaking his ankle on a family holiday in Cyprus late last year but bouncing back to reach the semi-final of the Amateur Championship in Royal Portrush in June, where he was eventually beaten by Neil.

"I had low expectations this year after the ankle break," he said. "That was a hard time and I ended up missing winter training in Dubai. But I got some good work done in South Africa which helped get me back to where I wanted to be.

"I had a good run at the Amateur Championship which gave me a lot of confidence. There are 288 players from all over the world in the field, so it really helped to know I could do it in that company. I then finished the season strong. I did well in the Scottish Boys and won an Order of Merit, too."

George Burns, 17, comes into this week on the back of a strong year. The Glaswegian, who is studying at St Andrews University, is currently seventh on the Scottish Boys Order of Merit after picking up the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy in May and a fourth-place finish in the Scottish Boys Strokeplay.

The confidence of Ben Kinsley, 18, will also be high as he takes on the challenge of St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. Ben, who is the great, great grandson of giant of golf Willie Auchterlonie and lives in St Andrews, is second in the Boy's Order of Merit with strong finishes in this year's Scottish Boys Strokeplay and the Scottish Boys Championship.

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which takes place from October 2-5 and celebrates links golf at its finest, is played over three of the world's best known and respected links courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.

This year's professional field includes world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who won back-to-back Major Championships at The Open at Hoylake and the US PGA at Valhalla, plus the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, and US Open champion Martin Kaymer, who also won The Players Championship at Sawgrass.

Both switch to St Andrews this week after their successful exploits in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, along with Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher and European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley and Vice-Captain Padraig Harrington.

With a prize fund of US$5 million, the championship incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world's leading golfers and a team event in which the professionals are paired with some of the most celebrated amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.

Among the celebrity amateurs playing are film and TV stars Damian Lewis, Jamie Dornan, Greg Kinnear and Kyle MacLachlan, rock legends Don Felder, Huey Lewis and Tico Torres and many great sporting idols including Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Sir Ian Botham, Shane Warne, Brian O'Driscoll, Sir Steve Redgrave, Tim Henman and Damon Hill.

This is the 30th year in which Alfred Dunhill has supported golf in St Andrews, beginning in 1985 with the Alfred Dunhill Cup, then from 2001 with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Entrance to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will be FREE at all three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A ticket price of £20 (concessionary £15) will be charged for the final day's play over the Old Course on Sunday, October 5.  Entry for under 16s and students is free. Tickets are available through the ticket hotline on 0844 581 4922 or at the entrance gates. 

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