Craig’s talk with McIlroy
Cambuslang ace makes Euro Tour debut
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)