A number of Austria’s emerging golfing stars will be heading for Scotland next month to challenge for honours in Europe’s premier junior tournament.
Clemens Bauer-Mitterlehner (12) from Vienna will be one of those joining hundreds of young golfers from around the globe at the U.S. Kids Golf European Championship.
The tournament, now in its fifth year, has become one of the highlights of the junior golf calendar and will see a record field of 500+ players from 35 countries competing over four historic East Lothian links courses.
Clemens, a pupil at the Sacred Heart School in Vienna and a member of the Vienna Golf Club, is one of the rising stars of the game and came top of the U12 category of the Austrian Juniors Golf Tour (AJGT) at the Linzer Golf Club in Luftenberg last month. He is in the top team of the Viennese Golf Association and has been playing golf since the age of three.
Clemens will join a team of seven other young Austrian golfers, many of whom also compete on the AJGT Tour, including Emma Spitz (12) winner and Daniel Hebenstreit (14) who both also won their age categories on the AJGT.
Clemens said: “I qualified for the European Championship through my performance at the US Kids Golf Championship in Monterrey, California last November and I’ve been looking forward to coming to Scotland ever since.
“It will be interesting to experience the renowned Scottish winds and hopefully this will improve my all round game. It is a fantastic opportunity to compete with the best players of my age group at an international level and a real honour to visit the home of golf and play on these famous courses.“
The tournament was one of the early successes of Matthias Schwab, the highly rated 17-year-old amateur star from Schladming, who was the 2008 European Champion.
Young golfers from six to 18 will be challenging for the various age group European Champion titles at the event, which also aims to promote the sport among children and families, as well as giving young players the chance to forge lifelong friendships through the game of golf.
The tournament over June 5-7 will take place on four courses – Gullane No. 2, Gullane No. 3, Craigielaw Golf Club and Longniddry Golf Club – which are modified for each age group in order to provide the same level challenge, meaning holes are progressively shorter as the age groups get younger. It ultimately allows the players to reach the greens in the same number of strokes as the top pros on the PGA tour.
The top finishers in each category will then compete in the Van Horn Cup over Gullane No 1 – a showpiece event, modelled on the Ryder Cup, where the best European players are pitted against the top non-Europe golfers. The top five finishers in each age and gender group also automatically receive an invitation to the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships at Pinehurst Golf Club, North Carolina, in August.
Dan Van Horn, President and founder of U.S. Kids Golf, said: “Since our inaugural event in 2008, the European Championship has continued to grow in strength and is a main highlight of the junior golf calendar.”
Tournament Co-ordinator Alasdair Good, Head Professional at Gullane Golf Club said: “Such is the strength of the platform provided by the competition that we are beginning see some of the winners from our first event go onto to bigger things on the world stage. That is a superb endorsement of the good work the tournament has achieved.”
The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation was launched in 2001 to provide opportunities for kids to play and learn the game through local tours and tournaments such as the European Championships. Since holding its first tournament in 2000, U.S. Kids Golf Foundation now runs some 600 events each year including the prestigious World Championships at Pinehurst.
More information on the U.S. Kids Golf European Championships, is available on www.uskidsgolf.com.