A record field of 570 players from around the world will be teeing off today for the first round of the U.S Kids Golf European Championship, underlining its reputation as Europe’s premier junior golfing tournament. The huge turnout, an increase of 50 from the 2013 event, provides a platform for the game’s future talent to showcase their talents in Scotland, just shortly before the current golfing greats do battle at this year’s Ryder Cup at nearby Gleneagles.
Competitors from across the globe — including such unusual locations as Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Nigeria, and as far away as Japan, will be pitching their skills over five historic East Lothian links courses between May 27-29. Girls and boys aged 5-18 will compete against their international peers to be crowned European champion in one of the 16 age group categories (ranging from boys under 7 to girls/boys 15-18).
This year’s U.S. Kids Golf European Championship boys 9 tournament is shaping up to capture the lion’s share of interest with Allan Kournikova aiming for his fourth consecutive victory. Florida-born Kournikova is the half-brother of tennis ace Anna Kournikova and is being tipped for the top after years of consistent performances at the European Championship and other competitions around the world. The nine-year-old prodigy picked up his first club at just 18 months and has racked up more than 200 trophies in his career to date, making him a celebrity in the USA where he has appeared on a documentary and a late night chat show.
The competition, organised by the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, aims to give children an opportunity to learn and play golf and to forge new friendships. The 2014 U.S. Kids Golf European Championships takes place over five famous East Lothian courses: Gullane No.2, Gullane No.3, Craigielaw Golf Club, Luffness New Golf Club and Longniddry Golf Club. During the competition, the courses 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.