The identities of the seven professional golfers chosen to receive support this year as part of the Team Scottish Hydro initiative were revealed at Kingsfield Golf Centre today.
Previous recipients of the backing, Callum Macaulay (above), George Murray, and Andrew McArthur, are joined this year by fellow Challenge Tour star Duncan Stewart, as well as Tartan Tour professional Chris Kelly. Ladies European Tour duo Kylie Walker and Pamela Pretswell complete the line-up.
Each of the players will receive significant financial support to enable them to fund their schedules on their respective tours for the coming season.
Launched in 2011, Team Scottish Hydro has proven to be immensely successful, helping to catapult no fewer than five players onto the European Tour in just three years, including Craig Lee and Chris Doak, who have successfully established themselves on the circuit.
It is with good reason, then, that the people behind the scheme are optimistic this year’s crop of players will build on that success.
The inclusion of a Tartan Tour player is a change to Team Scottish Hydro for this year.
“In the main, I think we can claim Team Scottish Hydro as a bit of a victory in that the help the guys have received over the past couple of years have helped them get where they are,” said Iain Stoddart, the director of Bounce Sports and one of the brains behind the scheme.
“In the case of Craig Lee, he has often cited the example of how being able to go to Colombia to play in an event in 2011 helped to nudge him over the line and graduate to the main tour. He has said that without the support of Team Scottish Hydro, he wouldn’t have been able to go and play in that tournament.”
The inclusion of a Tartan Tour player is a change to the set-up for this year and, as Stoddart explained, there is a very practical reason behind it.
“There is a lot of activity around Team Scottish Hydro and, often, many corporate fulfilments back here in Scotland that need to be taken care of,” he said. “However, it tends to be that when one of the guys is away, they are all away. That leaves nobody to represent the team and fulfil those corporate duties. That’s where Chris will come in.
“As well as playing on the Tartan Tour, he also has a number of starts on the Challenge Tour this year and will be playing in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. This is a new area that we have decided to go and look at and we’re hopeful it will be a success.”
Team Scottish Hydro: The class of 2014
To find out more about the Team Scottish Hydro line-up for this year, pick up a copy of issue 130 of bunkered, on-sale next week from all good newsagents.