Sep 2 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
USA college golfers
PERTH pals Danny Young and Paul McPhee are determined to build on promising USA college golf campaigns, writes Gordon Bannerman.
The former Perth Academy duo followed Scone's European Challenge Tour professional Gavin Dear to Lynn University in Florida's Boca Raton.
And last season they teamed-up in a record-breaking United Nations style team which went all the way to the final of the NCAA Division Two National Championships held in Florence, Alabama.
Now, after a rainswept summer back in Scotland, where Danny bagged the Highland Open title at Pitlochry, they will be sweltering in the Florida heat and seeking to nail down places in a five-man team for the campaign ahead.
Craigie Hill member Danny (20), capped for Scotland at U16 and U18 level and a two times Perth and Kinross Strokeplay champion, is entering his third year, while King James VI starlet Paul (19), another Scotland under age international with Home International and European experience, is gearing-up for his second year.
Both students have flagged-up support from the Big County’s former world amateur team champion and current pro Dear for promoting their case for inclusion in a highly regarded Lynn University golf programme.
Danny said: “I felt college in America was the best option for me after leaving school if I was going to get serious about my golf. I spoke to a few guys, including Gavin and Callum Macaulay, who have both turned pro. They gave me the inside track.”
Paul, whose father Ian played football for Dundee United and Forfar, said: “Going to college in the States was always in the back of my mind from the age of 16 but I knew I had to focus on my schoolwork.
“We both owe a lot to Gavin Dear, who helped push our cases at Lynn. And having Danny over there a year ahead of me helped me settle in.”
The pals admitted the Sunshine State climate was a lure, although golfing in intensely humid conditions and 100-plus degrees poses challenges of its own.
Sports management student Danny said: “I certainly have no regrets about heading to college in the States. It has been brilliant.
“We've known each other since we were kids and it's been good hanging out Lynn.”
Fifteen young golfers compete for five coveted places on the school team, with Paul noting that seven or eight have represented their countries.
The Lynn squad features players from the UK, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Columbia and the Dominican Republic, as well as the USA. But at the Alabama finals it was an all-European selection.
“The standard is high and that drives you one. You have to fight for your place. The last thing I wanted was to go to a school where you could plod along. We bring the best out of each other,” said Danny.
Scratch competitor Paul, who is on a four-year business management degree course, said: “It was my first season but I broke into the team for the final six tournaments, including the nationals. I was pleased with that but now it's about staying there and improving on last year's record, as a team and as an individual.
“Danny played in every tournament last season and I'd like to do the same. I want to build on a top 10 finish and play every week. Stepping onto the first tee the target is winning, individually and as a team.”
Plus two player Danny added: “We broke several school records last season, with seven wins. The national finals were bitter-sweet, I suppose. We lost 3-2 in the final after a long week. It was disappointing to miss out because we felt we were the best team there. And I lost a play-off for the individual title.
“I had a few thirds and a second place so the target has to be winning. As Paul says, we play to win every tournament we enter. Before my time is up at Lynn I'd love to post a win after coming so close last season.”