The 10th Junior Open
A total of 122 competitors from 68 nations make the 10th Junior Open the most truly international golf championship for Under-16-year-olds in the world. China, Russia, South Africa, Colombia and the United States have all accepted the invitation extended by the R&A to send their best boy and girl of that age group to Lancashire to take part in the biennial event.
Later in the week, the competitors will be taken to spectate at The Open which is being held at the nearby Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club. Darren Clarke, the Northern Irishman who will be defending The Open title, was at his charming best at last night's Junior Opening ceremony attended by the boys, girls and the delegates from all the competing countries.
Clarke spent over an hour at Fairhaven Golf Club. After the opening ceremony he posed for pictures with the Claret Jug and the competitors. He made a point of speaking one-on-one with as many competitors as he could so that, however they perform in the Junior Open, they will go home with a memory of meeting the 2011 Open Champion. The boys and girls practised in comparatively fine weather over the weekend, only to be greeted with leaden clouds and rain this morning.
Some top players in the world have played in past Junior Opens gone including Rory McIlroy and Paula Creamer, the LPGA Tour star. Jordan Spieth, the United States' boy representative four years ago has gone on to become twice US Junior Boys' Champion - a feat achieved by only one other player, none other than Tiger Woods. Spieth has also become a Walker Cup player for the United States, is currently No 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and was the low amateur at this year's US Open.
This year's American girl representative is Andrea Lee from Hermosa Beach, California. Great things are prediced for her in the years ahead. She shot a 65 at a tender age in the LPGA Tour's Dinah Shore Tournament at Mission Hills. Scotland's Clara Young (North Berwick) was, at 15 years of age, the youngest every player to win the East Lothian women's county championship last year when she also made her debut for Great Britain and Ireland in the Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Royal Porthcawl.