Ben Read has followed in the footsteps of north-east professionals Richie Ramsay and Greig Hutcheon by winning the Spence Trophy… aged just 15.
Banchory junior Ben lifted the title, which is the equivalent to the Champion of Champions tournament for men, by defeating Ally Kinghorn, of Cruden Bay, 4&3 in the final at the links course.
Ben had earlier defeated Ruaridh Fenwick, of Deeside, 3&2 in the semis to book his place in the final.
The victory came after some hard work with coach Patrick Walker and Ben is delighted to see his name on the trophy alongside some of the best juniors that the north-east has produced.
Ben said: “I feel honoured to have my name alongside someone as successful and talented as Richie Ramsay. It’s an inspiration.”
Ben’s father, David, a former Banchory men’s champion, had tried to tempt his son to take up the sport at the age of four but Ben was more interested in football.
However, Ben picked up his first set of clubs aged nine and after a season of playing bounce games received his first handicap of 32 aged 11 before improving to 20, then 10 and eventually seven.
Ben’s first major success came this season when winning the Scottish Golf Development Academy’s boys final over the Eden Course at St Andrews courtesy of a three-over-par 73 accomplished in testing conditions.
He followed that up by winning the Banchory junior club championship with rounds of 70, 72, 71 and 74 to earn his spot in the Spence Trophy qualifying field as his handicap continued to improve to 3.9.
Ben got off to a slow start against Ally and lost the first two holes.
However, Ben dug deep to fight back and covered the next 13 holes in one-under-par before winning the match on the 15th green.
He added: “It was a privilege to qualify for and play in such a big event and alongside such a well-mannered young guy in the final.
“Ally was an immense opponent and a joy to play against.
“I was lucky enough to beat him on the day, as he is an incredible golfer.
“I look forward to the chance to play with him again in the future.”
Other Banchory winners of the 48-year trophy include Greig (1989), Norman Hinks (1974), Phil Robb (1983) and John Murray (1988).
Ben hopes to further improve his game with the goal of one day turning professional although he is well aware of how hard that will be.
He added: “My hopes are that my passions for golf continue to grow and that I am lucky enough to be able to play this great sport for a living.”