Craig’s talk with McIl­roy

Cam­bus­lang ace makes Euro Tour de­but

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Murray Spooner

Kirkhill golfer lined up against the world No 2 PAGE 68

Cam­bus­lang golfer Craig Ross was rub­bing shoul­ders with the best golfers in the world last week but ad­mits he was never starstruck.

The 23-year-old may have been only one of the few am­a­teurs playing in the BMW SA Open in South Africa but showed how pro­fes­sional he could be when tee­ing off in the first Euro­pean Tour event of the year.

Craig, a Kirkhill Golf Club mem­ber, was in­vited to play in what was his Tour de­but after win­ning the San­lam South African Ama­teur Cham­pi­onship in March last year.

And de­spite not mak­ing the cut, Craig took in­spi­ra­tion from chat­ting with world No.2 Rory McIl­roy and a host of other golf­ing stars dur­ing his time in the rain­bow na­tion. Speak­ing from his base in Jo­han­nes­burg, Craig told the Re­former: “It went okay but I’m dis­ap­pointed to have missed the cut.

“It was great to see what level I was at by watch­ing th­ese other guys play. “I spoke to Andy Sul­li­van who won this tour­na­ment a few years ago and he was telling me that ‘if you don’t hit it off the tee, you don’t score’.

“He was right, it’s a lot longer course than some oth­ers.

“It was longer than the Ge­orge Golf Club where I won the ama­teur tour­na­ment and the rough wasn’t as thick.

“I didn’t play too well in the first round but played a bit bet­ter in the sec­ond.

“You’ve got to play right with your driver and I just didn’t do that on the first day. You need to hit the fair­ways on a course like that and I did hole a few putts in the sec­ond round.

“I knew the course a bit more and felt good on the sec­ond day.”

Craig was one of four Scots com­pet­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion and fin­ished his first round seven over and was ranked 147th with a score of 79.

He then made im­prove­ment with his putting and con­sis­tently hit the fair­ways in a one un­der par sec­ond round which meant he fin­ished 128th.

Eng­land’s Graeme Storm claimed the sil­ver­ware in a dra­matic fi­nal day but it was Bri­tain’s No.1 Rory McIl­roy who Craig re­ally en­joyed watch­ing.

When asked if he was ever starstruck by watch­ing his golf­ing he­roes, he said: “No, not re­ally. I just kept to what I was do­ing. I saw McIl­roy and a few of the big­ger names out there and chat­ted to them. It was mostly about the course and the play­ers they were playing with.

“McIl­roy is a re­ally nice guy and when­ever any­one asked for a sig­na­ture or photograph, he’d al­ways be happy to do it.

“He was hit­ting balls at the range next to me dur­ing the week and it was great to watch peo­ple like him in ac­tion.

“I was playing be­hind him so I didn’t get to see much of him on the course be­cause there was a big crowd fol­low­ing him and we had to wait till they all cleared.

“He’s the one that I re­ally look up to the most.”

Craig will stay out in South Africa un­til March 9 where he’ll take part in an­other pro and sev­eral other ama­teur tour­na­ments in Cape Town.

In with the stars Craig Ross Top man Craig en­joyed chat­ting to Rory McIl­roy (above) at the SA Open won by Graeme Storm (top)

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