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Status controversy for US Amateur Winner

U.S. Amateur golf champion Nick Flanagan said his family sold their holiday home to pay for his trip to the United States, disputing claims he used scholarship money to fund the journey.

The 19-year-old Flanagan became the first Australian in 100 years to win the title, beating American Casey Wittenberg on the first playoff hole Sunday after a 36-hole final in Oakmont, Pa.

He returned home Wednesday to face claims that he used scholarship funding from a junior golf foundation run by former Australian professional Jack Newton to pay for a three-month trip to the United States.

However, the foundation said Wednesday that Flanagan's scholarship assistance ended when he turned 18 and that Flanagan's trip was financed by his parents after they sold one of their homes.

``I haven't done anything wrong so I'm not concerned in the least,'' Flanagan said at a news conference Wednesday. ``It's just been blown out of proportion.''

Lyn Whitehouse of the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation, flew over for the U.S. Amateur with her husband, Gary - Flanagan's caddie. She said they traveled as family friends and everything was above board.

``I've spoken to the AGU and they don't have a concern as well because they know everything has been done 100 percent correctly,'' Lyn Whitehouse said.

AGU chief executive Colin Phillips said Australian amateurs could only receive international travel assistance from their national governing body - the AGU.

Phillips said he planned to talk to Flanagan when they meet this weekend before next week's Asia-Pacific teams championships, where Flanagan will be a member of the four-man Australian team.

Phillips said he spoke to the Jack Newton foundation on Tuesday and was told there had been no breach of amateur rules.

``The matter has to be looked at, but I'm sure we'll find there's nothing in it,'' Phillips said. ``I've spoken to the Newton foundation ... and they've assured us that they haven't paid any expenses whatsoever for him.''


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