Monday, July 25, 2011
The 21-year-old, who defeated Fraserburgh’s Jordan Findlay 3 and 2 in the final at Gullane twelve months ago, has enjoyed another superb season, winning the South African Amateur Championship in February before narrowly losing the final of The Amateur Championship at Hillside last month.
Legendary amateur Charlie Green was the last man to win back-to-back titles in 1982-83 and Stewart is relishing the prospect of retaining the championship in his native Ayrshire, believing he is a vastly improved player a year on from his East Lothian win.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of defending the title as it’s been a while since anyone’s achieved that. There will obviously be some extra pressure on me but I seem to thrive on that and play some of my best golf in pressure situations, as I did in some of my close matches last year,” said Stewart, who is eyeing a place in the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup side to face the United States in September.
“All aspects of my game have improved since my win at Gullane and I would say I’m definitely a better golfer. The SGU squad training over the winter was of real benefit and the win in South Africa and my run in The Amateur Championship was great for my confidence. It will be nice playing at home in Ayrshire and I’m excited about the week ahead.” he added.
Scotland’s 256 leading amateur golfers representing 150 different clubs will descend on the Western Gailes links, which last hosted the championship in 2002 when Andrew McArthur defeated Scott Jamieson in a keenly contested final, before both players went on to compete on the European Tour.
The last Ayrshireman to win on home soil, was from another West Coast Links course, Barassie’s Jim Milligan in 1988.
Action gets underway on Monday morning at 0645 with 128 ties being played over the first two days. The 36-hole final will take place on Saturday 30 July with 0830 and 1300 tee-times. Live scoring and updates will be available throughout the week here on the SGU's website.
You can find out how you can play Western Gailes and the rest of Scotland's West Coast Golf Links courses on the website