TEAMING up with a US Masters champion inspired a Moray exile to finally claim golfing glory on his home town course.
Michael Watson (29) lifted the Kynoch Shand Trophy on Friday after being crowned 5-day open winner at Elgin Golf Club, the course where he achieved his first hole-in-one at the age of ten.
The men’s scratch competition prize at the Hardhillock course had always eluded Watson, who had fallen at the semi-final hurdle on several occasions.
A former Elgin Academy pupil, he landed a dream sports scholarship at Jacksonville State college in Alabama as a teenager where he played in the same team as future Masters winner Danny Willett.
The Englishman became a worldwide star last year when he wore the famous golfing green jacket after his stunning triumph in the Masters at Augusta, one of the sport’s four major tournaments.
Willett and Watson played together in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division 1 tournaments in a team which also included this year’s Portugal Open European Tour event winner Matt Wallace.
“I had a really good team there,” Watson recalled. “Ten years ago I was telling people about Danny, saying he was going to be in a Ryder Cup team one day.
“He did that last year but I would never have guessed the Masters."
Full story in Friday's Northern Scot print edition