Caspar Graf was the overall scratch winner of this year’s Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge – an event dominated by St Leonards School.
The 15 year old pupil from the St Andrews-based school shot 74, winning the event by the closest of margins after a countback with Ellen Caton, also from St Leonards School.
The competition was held on the Duke’s Course, St Andrews with young golfers from St Leonards taking honours in three of the other four categories. Ellen Caton won the Senior Girls title while fellow pupils Eric Berge won the Junior Boys category and Fiona Branch took the honours in the Junior Girls competition. Meanwhile 15 year old Andrew McLay from McLaren High School in Callander took the Senior Boys title.
The event featured a bigger field than ever with players from 47 different Scottish schools represented in the tournament.
Playing off a three handicap, Caspar Graf recorded a gross 74 to win the Scratch Prize.
He began playing golf at the age of four in his native Germany and last summer finished in the top 25 in a national German youth competition. He relocated to Scotland last month to attend school in St Andrews, a move partly influenced by the opportunity to further develop his golf.
Caspar said: ‘I’m delighted to have won this year’s Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge. It was great to be part of this competition on the Duke’s Course and I was very pleased with my score.
‘I’m enjoying my studies in Scotland where I have been able to focus on improving my golf. I really enjoy the sport and hope I can continue to improve to the point where I can pursue a golfing scholarship in the US.’
Meanwhile, Ellen Caton, who narrowly missed out on the overall Scratch Prize, won the Senior Girls title with a net 71. The 17 year old from Fife has played golf for five years and currently plays off a handicap of three. An S6 pupil at St Leonards School, Ellen is keen to attend university in the US where she aims to pursue her golfing.
Andrew McLay won the Senior Boys category with a net score of 64. The 15 year old, who is an S4 pupil at McLaren High School in Callander, has played competitive golf for the past two years, competing in a number of local district competitions.
The Junior Boys winner, 14 year old Eric Berge, carded a net score of 66 after a round of 77. Born in Barcelona, Eric moved to Strathkinnes, Fife with his family three years ago. An S3 pupil at St Leonard’s, Eric plays for the school’s development squad and is a member of The New Golf Club, St Andrews.
Junior Girls winner Fiona Branch shot a net score of 70. The 13 year old, who was born in Madrid, now lives in St Andrews with her Spanish mother and Dundee-born father. Fiona has been playing competitive golf for two years and is also a member of the St Leonards School development squad.
The winners will be invited to receive their Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge prizes at the Old Course, St Andrews on the final day of this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday, September 29.
All the participants will also be invited, together with their parents and a school representative, to attend an exclusive golf clinic on the Championship practice ground given by the internationally renowned golf coach Robert Baker.
Baker said: ‘I’m delighted to see the annual field for the Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge continuing to expand. This event is encouraging a growing number of young people from across Scotland to participate in competitive golf, a huge positive for the future of the sport.
‘Getting the right direction and coaching early enough in their career can really help young golfers develop their game and maximise their full potential. I congratulate all of the competitors and look forward to meeting these talented youngsters at this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where they will participate in our annual coaching clinic.’
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, a celebration of links golf at its finest, takes place over three of the greatest and most historic courses in the world, the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, from September 26 – 29.