Amateur contender: James Byrne will be striving to improve on his runners-up place at last year's Amateur Championship
Byrne and Stewart among Scots vying for Amateur Championship
Scotland's leading amateurs will be among 288 golfers from 35 countries competing for the coveted Amateur Championship this week at Hillside and Hesketh Golf Clubs in the North-West of England.
James Byrne will be hopeing to go one batter than last year's final defeat as he makes his first appearance of the year on UK soil following the recent completion of his four-year scholarship at Arizona State university.
Michael Stewart is another Scot looking for a big week with the Walker Cup just four months away. The 21-year-old from Troon has an excellent match play pedigree to call upon, having won both the Scottish Amateur Championship and the South African equivalent during the past twelve months, though he is returning from a wrist injury which has hindered his start to the season.
With not just the trophy at stake, but a place at both The Open Championship and US Masters, competitors will be looking to take inspiration from the winner the last time the event was held in Lancashire when Italian youngster Matteo Manassero, then just 16, became the youngest ever champion, before going onto win the Silver Medal in the 2009 Open Championship and subsequently becoe the youngest winner on the European Tour.
"The prospect of seeing golfing legends in the making is a compelling spectacle for golf fans," said The R&A's assistant director of championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton.
"There is always an enthusiastic following, whenever the Amateur comes to this part of the world, and we look forward to welcoming large numbers of spectators to Hillside and Hesketh, next week."
The hoome favourite is sure to be Heysham's Jack Senior, recent winner of the Lytham Trophy. Joining him will be fellow English GB&I squad members Andrew Sullivan, winner of the recent Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship and Tom Lewis, who triumphed in the St Andrews Links Trophy.
The Strokeplay stage of the championship, on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 June 2011, is played over both Hillside and Hesketh, with 64 players and ties contesting the final match-play stage over four days at Hillside, from Wednesday 15 to Saturday June 18. Television highlights will be broadcast on Sunday June 19 on Sky Sports.