US college circuit boost for Steven

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STEVEN SMITH, this year’s Lothians Championship runner-up, has been given the green light to start playing on the US college circuit.

The Dalmahoy player enrolled at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee in August but couldn’t get permission from the NCAA to turn out for the ‘Catamounts’. Now that has been resolved and Smith, who lost out to Alan Anderson in the Lothians title shoot-out at Broomieknowe, is gearing up for his first start for WCU. “My golf has gone from strength to strength since I came out here but it was unfortunate I was unable to play any tournaments due to an eligibility issue with the NCAA, the collegiate sports governing body,” he said. “This issue has finally been resolved in the past few weeks so I will be able to play in the spring, which I can’t wait for.”

Smith added: “I was recruited by coach Carter Cheves last winter and I owe a lot to him for giving me this opportunity. The atmosphere that he creates and by the whole athletic department here makes it very easy for you to reach your potential. There is so much support here for all of our training, practice and academic needs. Everything is scheduled for us so that we are able to fit our busy golf schedule around our academics and still succeed at both.

“We have a range and putting green here on Campus and four or five courses – our home course is The Country Club at Sapphire Valley – that we play and practise at in the surrounding area. Our first tournament in the spring is at Hilton Head in South Carolina in late February and can’t come quick enough.”