TENNIS star Anna Kournikova’s eight-year-old brother Allan is among 520 youngsters vying for the championship at a top junior golf tournament.
The competition, teeing off in East Lothian tomorrow, sees the world’s most talented young golfers compete for the title of U.S. Kids Golf European Champion.
Also on offer are sought-after places at the prestigious U.S. Kids Golf World Championships at Pinehurst Golf Club, North Carolina, in August.
According to his proud mother, Alla Kournikova , eight-year-old Allan already has a handicap of 6 and is a seasoned pro when it comes to international tournaments.
His hectic schedule sees the youngster touring the world to compete against other young competitors from all over the globe.
Allan has been playing golf since he was just 18 months old, and would practise for 15 minutes three times a week when he was a toddler.
The youngster has won the tournament for the last two years in a row.
Despite this, Mrs. Kournikova says the eight-year-old will face stiff competition to regain his title this year, though she emphasises the friendly and welcoming nature of the tournament.
She said: “You see some of the same faces every year. The kids love it; they all make friends and run around.”
As well as golf, Allan occasionally plays tennis like his famous older sister and goes horse riding.
But his mother says his interest is mainly golf: “He’s passionate about golf, he knows every single player and what’s going on in all the tours.
“He knows everything – and he has an opinion on everything!”
According to Mrs Kournikova, young Allen has also taken quite a shine to Scotland: “We love it here.
“This is our third year in a row at this tournament, and we just enjoy it. It’s so peaceful here. Even Allan told me the other day that he feels so safe here, so peaceful.”
The U.S. Kids Golf European Championship takes place from May 28-30, and is spread across five courses in Scotland, including Gullane, Craigielaw Golf Club, Luffness New Golf Club and Longniddry Golf Club.
Dan Van Horn, President and founder of U.S. Kids Golf, said: “We are delighted that the European Championship has developed into one of the must-attend events in the junior golf calendar.
“I also think it is very fitting that East Lothian will be a golf mecca this summer as it also plays host to The Open at Muirfield – meaning that in the space of a month or so the best golfers, both now and of the future, will be on the same soil.
“That is very special and I think will add an extra buzz to this year’s tournament.”
The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, which organises the tournament, was launched in 2001 and is the charitable branch of U.S. Kids Golf, a major producer of children’s golf equipment.
The Foundation provides opportunities for children across the world to learn and play golf while having fun and making lasting friendships with like-minded children, and now runs some 700 events each year.