Juniors are dreaming of golfing glory

15th September 2006 at 01:00
As a young golfer teeing off for the first time at the age of 11, Andy Ingram never dreamt he might one day make sporting history.

But if the European Junior Ryder Cup team lift the trophy at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport on Sunday, he may do just that. First, though, he will have to wait another nail-biting week to find out whether fellow Welshman Ian Woosnam's senior team is victorious in Dublin. If so, it will be a unique double victory for Welsh captains.

In the meantime, all efforts are focused on the 12 youngsters under the age of 16 who are vying for the junior trophy.

"They won handsomely against America two years ago," says Mr Ingram. He was their captain then and says ambition, concentration, stamina, accuracy and a will to win are the key attributes for a successful golfer.

It was on Brecon's Cradoc Golf Club that the young Andy Ingram swung his first club. "I represented Wales at under-18 and youth level, but decided to get an education before going into business," he says.

But the 46-year-old investment banker jumped at the chance to captain the Welsh junior boys, youth and senior squads.

"Now the Welsh juniors can play all over the world, including a world championship," he says.

The young players in the Junior Ryder, which started in 1995, have been treated to a coaching session by Nick Faldo and will be able to meet heroes such as Tiger Woods next week in Dublin.

Meanwhile, the number of young golfers has increased in Wales but most are boys, despite efforts by sporting bodies to involve more girls. That said, Wales's Katherine O'Connor missed out on a slot on the Junior Ryder team by just one place.

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