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Stirling golfers set for Slovenia after grand slam success

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The University of Stirling men’s golf team will represent Great Britain at the European Universities Championships following a Grand Slam of recent results.

Golf scholars from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence won every available British student team title, earning them selection by British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) to compete at the European University Sports Association (EUSA) Golf Championships in Slovenia this September.

Selection was secured when the team took the BUCS Golf Matchplay title last week, defeating Bournemouth University 6.5-2.5 in a repeat of last year’s final.

It was the tenth time in 12 years Stirling have won the team event and adds to victory in the BUCS Strokeplay Championship, the Scottish Universities Sport (SUS) Strokeplay and Matchplay Championships.

Second year Environmental Geography student Mike Howard remained undefeated as part of the six-man team coached by former European Tour professional Dean Robertson to the matchplay title at Ganton Golf Club in North Yorkshire.

“I was really pleased with how I played, but it was an excellent team performance in both the singles and foursomes,” said Howard, from Southport in Merseyside, who followed his display at Ganton with fifth spot at the Scottish Youths Championships.

“We seem to have won everything this year and that’s down to the strength of the team. We’ve gelled really well and the whole team get on with one another. We go away to competitions together and literally live with each other most of the time.

“Since Dean [Robertson] has come in, my golf has come on leaps and bounds. He has great ideas and his experience rubs off on all the players. I’ve managed to get a few decent results this season and move from the fringes into the Stirling team so hopefully I can keep going and be part of the team in Slovenia. To compete for national honours was great so the chance to represent Great Britain would be brilliant.”

Howard’s team-mates were: captain Bobby Rushford (Falkirk), Graeme Robertson (Larbert), Alexander Culverwell (Edinburgh), David Booth (Rotherham) and Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock), a Winning Students scholarship golfer.

Robertson, the University’s high performance golf coach for athletes on the International Sports Scholarship Programme, said: “I’m delighted for the guys and it was great for captain Bobby Rushford to be able to sign off his final year on a high. The result is an ideal stepping stone for the younger members of the squad who are staying on and looking to take their game to a higher level.

“We’ve really tried to ramp up the performance golf programme over the past year, and those on it have had great support from the likes of Andrew Coltart and other senior professionals who have given them the benefit of their experience. Now the students are rising to the challenge and the University of Stirling has shown it is one of the leading sporting institutions in the UK.”

Robertson’s assertions of the programme were supported by the news current Scottish Ladies Amateur champion Kelsey MacDonald has been named in the Great Britain & Ireland team to compete in the Astor Trophy Tournament.

MacDonald, from Nairn, is a Sports Studies student and is also supported by a national scholarship from Winning Students.

She will tee off at Fairhaven Golf Club, Lytham St Annes in Lancashire from 15-19 June, at the event contested between teams of top women amateur golfers from Great Britain and Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

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