A young golfer who was inspired to take up the game by Tiger Woods is on course to play stateside after winning a prestigious national competition.
Michael Hay, from Lingdale near Gisborough, scooped the top prize at the Association of Colleges (AoC) National Championships – a hotly contested tournament for college students from around the country.
The 18-year-old, who is studying in the second year of a Sport and Exercise Science course at Middlesbrough College, beat 25 other golfers at the competition in Nottinghamshire.
He was also joined in the team event by classmates Daniel Norman, 16 and Sonnie Alder, 17 and together they helped Middlesbrough College secure the runners up spot.
And Michael’s drive is due to take him all the way to Miami on a sought-after four-year scholarship at Nova Southeastern University where he’ll study Sports Science.
Michael said: “I’m really excited about going over to the US. I’d love to make it as a golf professional but my plan at the moment is to play as much as I can and see what the standard of other student golfers is like.
“I train two days a week at least, and then spend a further seven hours on the course too. Golf rules my life!”
Playing off a plus one handicap, Michael is guided by Middlesbrough College Golf Academy coach James Atthey who is the Golf Professional attached to Stokesley Golf Range.
Michael added: “I’m really lucky that James – who has been my coach since I was young – is at Middlesbrough College.
“He’s helped me enormously and it’s partly thanks to him that I’m off to Miami next summer.
“The Middlesbrough College Golf Academy means I can work on my game and follow my passion while studying towards valuable qualifications.”
Michael joins the ranks of other Middlesbrough College golfers who have gone on to find success, including Dan Twiby who also studied at a US university and is now on course to become a PGA professional.
Students are afforded access to the same level of technology and learning that golf professionals use.
James Atthey added: “Michael is a talented golfer who works hard in college and on the course and he deserves this success.
“I’m thrilled he won the AoC National Championships as the standard of competition was strong.
“This is only the start for Michael and he’s off to the US with the backing of everyone at Middlesbrough College.”