South African Open: Amateur Craig Ross enjoys chance to mix with Rory McIlroy

Craig Ross's home golf club is Kirkhill in Cambuslang
Craig Ross's home golf club is Kirkhill in Cambuslang

Scottish amateur Craig Ross hopes to make the most of following in the footsteps of one of his golfing heroes this week on the European Tour.

The 23-year-old from Cambuslang is in the group that tees off after world number two Rory McIlroy at the BMW South African Open.

"I thought I'd have a chance to play with him but I'm playing behind him so it's good," Ross told BBC Scotland.

"A few people have said to try and get a signature from Rory or Ernie Els."

The SA Open is the first European Tour event of 2017 and Ross is one of four Scots competing at Glendower Golf Club in Ekurhuleni from Thursday to Sunday, along with David Drysdale, Scott Henry and Duncan Stewart.

He qualified for the tournament after winning the South African Amateur Championship last year.

McIlroy is playing at the SA Open for the first time since 2009
McIlroy is playing at the SA Open for the first time since 2009

Ross will start alongside Drysdale from 05:20 GMT and is glad to have been able to tap into all his countrymen's experience.

"I played with Duncan Stewart and Scott Henry on Monday and Wednesday and it was good to hear what they had to say, with them having been pro for a while now," he said.

"I feel I'm playing well enough to easily make the cut. Hopefully I can put a decent performance in and finish top 20 because I like the course and it suits me.

"It's great to get into such a big event with big names in the field. I've been on the range close to Rory and seen him hitting a few balls and it's impressive. Even seeing some of the other guys is really good, like defending champion Brandon Stone and Retief Goosen.

"A few friends and family will be watching back home and I've got my mum and dad and a family friend over here watching as well. A few of them are going to record it in case I get any TV coverage!"

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