By Paul Thornton
AN 11-YEAR-OLD boy plucked from the Egyptian Pyramids was taking on an historic rain swept Scottish golf course today (Tuesday).
Maged Sallam was spotted by staff at a club in Cairo two years ago after terrorising a golf course run by an ex-pat.
The youngster spent his days climbing the wall into the Mena House course and pinching used balls before selling them back to golfers.
But, after being taken on as a caddy at the course, Maged so impressed with his club skills that bosses began sponsoring his fledgling career.
Now they have brought him to Scotland for one of the world’s largest junior golf tournaments, currently being held at four Links courses across East Lothian.
Harry Carson, the ex-pat whose firm Harriman Golf is sponsoring Maged, said that despite some difficulty adjusting to the unique courses, Maged was showing his class.
The 75-year-old said: “He enjoys the game very much and is a very focussed lad.
“These are completely different conditions from what he is used to and he is just getting to grips with the course.
“On his first practice round he produced about half a dozen pars on his front nine, but his back nine wasn’t so good.
“Last year at the event he came 26 out of 39 players in his group so we are just hoping he is able to make an improvement on that.”
Maged added: “It is not as warm as I am normally used to but Scotland is a very nice country and I am really happy to be here.”
Such is Maged’s incredible progress that he has been selected as part of Egypt’s under 18-squad – the youngest member in the team.
Harry added: “He has made great progress and continues to improve all the time.
“Most golfers who come through the ranks in Egypt are from very wealthy families and so it would be great to see someone like Maged, who is not from the richest background, make a living out of the game.”
As many as 500 players – aged from six to 18 years old – will tee off around four Links courses in East Lothian.
The tournament runs until tomorrow and takes place on two of the three courses at Gullane, as well as Craigielaw and Longniddry Golf Clubs.
Youngsters have travelled from as far as Australia, Thailand and Africa to compete in the event, now in its third year.