USA golf duo happy with progress

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Seb Brown and Piers de Gruchy, who represented Jersey at the Shetland Island Games in the summer, finishing 12th and 18th respectively, share the same goal of playing on the professional tour and earning a living through golf.

The pair, members at La Moye GC, are post-graduate students at the Hilton Head, South Carolina-based International Junior Golf Academy and they are hoping to go on and receive golf scholarships into US colleges or universities next summer.

Brown (17), formerly at Grainville School, said: ‘It’s been a really good experience.

It is intense too, with four hours practise a day as well as an hour of fitness training.

‘The coaches are excellent; my putting has improved a lot and I’m confident now that I have the ability to score well.’ Brown headed a field of 155 to win a competition at the famous Harbour Town links in September.

He won by eight strokes after firing a three-under-par 68 and then a 73.

Before returning to Jersey for the Christmas period, Brown finished second at Hampton Hall, after rounds of 71 and 74, where he was beaten by just two strokes.

He said: ‘I played really well but I lost it at the 11th after a triple bogey – I hit my drive into a water hazard.

But I was pleased with my round because I finished birdie, par, par, birdie, par.’ Former Victoria College pupil De Gruchy, (18), said: ‘Much of the work is fine tuning and having played in four tournaments and finished sixth, ninth, 11th and 16th, out of around 60 in the age-group, I’m happy.

‘I had expected a bit more but I’ve had a set-back because of a flexibility issue and as I result I’ve had MRI scans on a knee and my back.

‘Fitness is a very important aspect in the game and I’ve had to make a couple of small changes to help my rotation and improve my swing.

My game has improved since I left Jersey, especially striking the ball.’ Both golfers practice at the South Pines Resort daily from 7.45 am.

They might work on putting or chipping or having their full swings videotaped and analysed.

Then it’s off for a marathon session on the driving range.

Some weeks it’s all about the mechanics of the swing, breaking it down, finding flaws and eliminating them.

Other weeks are for tournament competition.

Regular sessions also take place with a sports psychologist.

The Hilton Head golf programme is directed by Gary Gilchrist, who has worked with Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, David Gossett and Ty Tryon.

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