Cruden Bay golf pair set for Turkish delight championship

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North East golf club pairings from Cruden Bay and Kintore are bidding to become national champions when they jet out to the sun for the final of the Belhaven Best Scottish Club Handicap Championship.

Cruden Bay pair James Booth and Eric Whiteside and Kintore duo Robbie Lawrence and Brian Gilbert are among 40 club golfers from across Scotland who have booked dream spots for the showpiece final, staged at one of the European Tour’s most prestigious venues in Turkey.

It will be the first time Scottish Golf has staged one of its championships overseas.

The move is part of the governing body’s ongoing campaign to provide exclusive benefits to its 222,000 member golfers.

Thanks to a ground-breaking new sponsorship deal that has boosted the nation’s most popular participation event, the luxurious Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Belek will host the 20 leading club pairings after they all battled through stiff competition from 280 other clubs in last August’s four Regional Finals.

They will all be flown out to Turkey early next month courtesy of Turkish Airlines, another new official partner for the event.

There they will enjoy four nights’ accommodation, a practice day on Friday, February 5, before the weekend 36-hole final from February 6 to 7.

The 5-star Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort is one of Turkey’s premier golfing destinations and will host the Turkish Airlines Open as part of the lucrative Final Series on the European Tour in November, while the venue also staged a Ladies European Tour event in 2015.

Commenting on the event, Cruden Bay’s Booth said: “Eric and I are very much looking forward to the event in a couple weeks’ time.

“We are very thankful for the opportunity to be one of the first to play a Scottish Golf event abroad.

“The event is a great benefit of club membership in Scotland.

“We are getting to play golf in warm weather in February and get some early practice before the start of the season.

“On the chances of winning, I believe if we can gel like we did up at Nairn Dunbar in qualifying we have a great chance.

“We didn’t particularly play to the best of our abilities, so we have room for improvement still.

“I’ve played golf abroad in several countries and playing in warm conditions is fantastic – it makes everything much more enjoyable.”

The Belhaven Best Scottish Club Handicap Championship has been the country’s biggest participation event since its launch in 1999, with around 20,000 club members taking part in local qualifying each year.

Every club in Scotland was invited to host a qualifying event for golfers of all abilities during the spring and summer.

The top two players based on nett scores earned the chance to represent their club at the Regional Finals and secure a spot to Turkey.