Sunday, January 01, 2012


     Hannah McCook ... recovering from a wrist operation in November. Image by Cal Carson Golf Agency.

Better late than never ... that must be how Hannah McCook is feeling as she flies out tomorrow from Prestwick to Florida to join her six Stirling University girls' golf team-mates as they get ready to play in the first event of the Orange Blossom Tour - the Harder Hall Invitational at Sebring.
One of the perks of being a golf scholarship student at Stirling is that every January the women's team are taken to Florida to play in the first three events of this prestigious women's amateur circuit which attracts many of the leading United States amateurs.
A first-year student at Stirling, this is Hannah's first trip to Florida but she can look forward to four more such visits before she graduates.
McCook, who hails from Nethy Bridge and is a member at Grantown on Spey GC, is not playing in this week's the Harder Hall Invitational.
"I had wrist surgery at the end of November and am still recovering. I have been advised by my surgeon, physio Ali Robb and University of Stirling team coach Lesley MacKay not to play in at least the first competition," said 18-year-old Hannah who finished second in the European universities' women's championship in Slovenia last autumn after playing for Scotland in the girls' home internationals at Gullane.
The Stirling students who are playing in the Harder Hall Invitational are headed by Curtis Cup team contender Kelsey MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar), Harriet Beasley (Woburn), the European universities women's champion, Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm), last year's Scottish girls match-play champion and Scottish women's championship beaten finalist, Rebecca Wilson (Grange, Monifieth), Jordana Graham (Southerness) and Mhairi McKay (West Kilbride).
English competitors in a strong field of Americans are Charley Hull (Woburn), No 10 in the Women's World Amateur Rankings and a winner on the Orange Blossom Tour last year, Curtis Cup team player Holly Clyburn (Woodhall Spa) and her younger sister, India.
McCook will play in next week's South Atlantic amateur Championship at Oceanside CC, Ormond Beach and, if she suffers no ill-effects, also the Jones/Doherty match-play championship at Coral Ridge CC, Fort Lauderdale from January 16 to 21 after which the Stirling squad will fly home.
This could be a big year for young Hannah who is at the age - she will be 19 on July 29 - when some girls can show great improvement over the course of a season as Eilidh Briggs did in 2011.
The Scottish women's amateur championship from May 15 to 19 is being played at Tain, a venue Hannah will know well from Northern Counties competitions. McCook might not win it but she could enhance her claims to step up from from the Under-18s to the full Scotland side for the women's home internationals at Cork, Ireland from September 4 to 6.
+Hannah McCook is to share a £25,000 grant from the Taylor Family Foundation with four other sporting Stirling students - Jordan McCulloch and Joe Gill (tennis) and Michael Pentland and Jane Ross (football).
Foundation chair Justin Taylor said: “The scholarships help the students compete and train to the highest level while maintaining their academic commitments and are part of our commitment to assist young people in the arena of sport.