Ace in the pack

Ellon golfer Stephen Roger at the 15th hole where he achieved his hole in one.
Ellon golfer Stephen Roger at the 15th hole where he achieved his hole in one.

A PROMISING young Ellon golfer has just recorded his first hole-in-one on the way to winning the junior club championship.

Stephen Roger, 14, could not believe his eyes when the ball disappeared into the cup at the par three 15th hole at the McDonald club.

Stephen, who plays off five, used an eight iron for the feat and the ace was enough to help him clinch his semi-final tie.

He was one up at the time and closed the match out 3 and 1.

No repeat in the final, but Stephen was too strong for opponent Blair Fraser in the 36-hole final on Saturday and holed a bunker shot for a birdie two and a winning margin of 7 and 6.

Stephen is still stunned by his hole in one. He said: “I was in shock. I actually saw the ball going in. I hit it really sweetly and it bounced about three yards short and went straight into the cup. It was a strange feeling. I think my opponent was in shock, too.”

Stephen, in fourth year at Ellon Academy, is rapidly catching the eye in North-east junior golf circles and has brought his handicap down to five since the beginning of last season.

A member at both Ellon and Cruden Bay, he practices non-stop and has a hectic schedule of competition play, which mum Mandy keeps meticulously up-to-date.

Apart from home success, Stephen also won the Royal Dornoch junior open at the start of the season and more recently lifted the handicap prize at the Men’s Turriff open with a nett 67.

Stephen said: “It’s really good being a member of both clubs. Cruden Bay is a test of links golf while Ellon give you inland conditions, so it’s the best of both worlds. I love the game and my family gives me a lot of encouragement, which helps a lot.”

Now the school holidays are under way Stephen has a busy programme of competition over the next few weeks.

Mandy said: “Stephen is really keen and is never off the golf course. He has done exceptionally well to get his handicap down to five so quickly.”

The youngster has set himself a target of a three handicap by the end of the season and hopefully scratch next year.

He explained: “That’s what I’m hoping for anyway. It would be great if I could achieve that.”

Dad Simon, who at one time played off two but now has a handicap of seven, added: “It’s amazing to think he had a handicap of 25 at the start of last season. We try to give him all the encouragement we can.”

However, Stephen still has some way to go before he matches his father’s haul of holes in one - five to be precise!

After breaking off from practice to speak to the Times, Stephen was on the road again, this time bound for Turriff and another competition.