You wait for one Scotland number one to come along and suddenly two appear! That was the case this week when the latest Scottish Golf rankings came out, with Craig Howie surging to the top of the national Men’s Order of Merit, while young brother Darren’s excellent runner-up finish at the Henry Cooper Junior Masters in Kent cemented his place at the summit of the Scottish Boys Order of Merit.
After five events, Craig is more than 100 points clear of second placed Liam Johnston, having reached the last-32 of The Amateur Championship last week at Royal St George’s. Howie suffered a heart-breaking exit at the 20th hole to Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura, having qualified as the leading Scot after excellent rounds of 69 and 68 in the stroke play stages.
Younger sibling Darren was also in Kent last week and led the prestigious Henry Cooper Junior Masters after a first round 68. He slipped back in rounds two and three, a superb six-under par final round of 66 gave him an aggregate of 280, eight-under par, to finish ahead of many of England’s leading junior on second place, in an event won by his elder brother in 2012.
As a result of their number one standings, both players were celebrating automatic selections for their respective Scotland teams at next month’s European Amateur Team Championships (11 – 15 July). Darren will represent Scotland Boys at the famous La Manga resort in Spain, while Craig will travel to the Diamond Country Club in Austria, with Scotland’s men defending the title they won last year and aiming to become the first team to secure a hatrick of title since England achieved the feat back in 1973. Howie played a pivotal role in Scotland’s win in France last year and was undefeated in six foursomes and singles matches.