Sunday, July 10, 2016

Lawrie, Lyle and MacDonald help Royal Dornoch celebrate 400 years of golf in Dornoch
 Royal Dornoch Juniors and Professionals
Back Row: Connor Preston (17), Cameron Wilson (17), Caitlin Boa (18), Rebecca Riddell (18), Max Hampton (12), Hannah Riddell (14), Ceitidh Aitchison (15), Connor Mackay (17), Paddy Murray (16), Front Row: Sandy Lyle, Kelsey MacDonald, Paul Lawrie

Dornoch, Sutherland: A typical Scottish Summer day – sun followed by rain, but this did not dampen the spirits of the Juniors as they waited to play with the professional golfers. As part of Royal Dornoch 400 year celebrations the mixed exhibition match with golf legends Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle and Ladies European Tour Professional Kelsey Macdonald was a demonstration on how to play links golf.
First to tee off was 1985 Open Champion and 1988 Masters Champion Sandy Lyle, his playing partner on the first tee was 17 year old Connor MacKay. After the match Mr Lyle commented “This is a very special occasion, it is celebrating an amazing 400 years of golf. It was a great pleasure to be playing here and playing with the juniors. I hope they will continue to keep playing and carrying the flag of Scottish golf.”
The unique format of the three professionals playing with the three juniors for six holes, allowed for the juniors to caddy for each other while walking the course with each of the professionals, picking up tips and gaining feedback on their shots. The spectators, professionals and juniors walked the course together in a relaxed and informal manner, with the crowd able to enjoy the chat and appreciate the thought process behind the shots.
The 1999 Open Champion, Paul Lawrie commented: “It’s always a pleasure to play Royal Dornoch and the chance to play this type of exhibition match with such young talent is completely different and it was an excellent event. This great format is so different from a standard tour event and this made the match exceptionally special for us and I hope for the spectators."
The juniors played well, holding their nerve on each of the holes and on the 3rd showed their knowledge of the course, while leaving the professionals to search in the rough. Kelsey MacDonald, commented “I’m just back from Spain and the Scottish weather was a bit of a shock, I took the opportunity to enjoy playing the course and chatting to the juniors. Talking to the girls it was a positive experience finding out how they are getting on and their expectations for the future. Caitlin is unsure, but as long as she is having fun she will keep playing, something we can all learn from. I think I enjoyed it as much as the crowd, it was definitely fun – even in the rain.”
Dennis Bethune, President of Royal Dornoch Golf Club presented each of the professionals with one of the limited edition 400 year celebration heather gem putters as a memento of the occasion.