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Golfer McCook selected for “Olympics for students”

30 April 2015
Hannah McCook in action. Photo: Sandy McCook

Hannah McCook in action. Photo: Sandy McCook

University of Stirling fourth year Hannah McCook has been selected for the six-strong Great Britain Golf team competing at this summer’s World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea (3-14 July 2015).

The 21-year-old from Nethy Bridge in the Scottish Highlands, was picked to play in the event, widely recognised as the second largest multisport Games in the world after the Olympics, having impressed in British Universities & Colleges Sport competitions.

“I’ve played at two World University Golf Championships but the World University Games is basically the Olympics for students and I can’t wait,” said BA Hons Sports Studies student, McCook.

McCook has put in consistently good performances this season. She emerged from an international field to win this month’s R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament in St Andrews. As a result she has been invited to compete in a Ladies European Tour event as part of her packed schedule this summer.

“I get to choose which event I get to play in from a list they have sent me which is quite exciting,” she said. 

“The only time I played on the Tour before was at last year’s Scottish Open at Archerfield, where I was playing as an amateur, together with a professional from Finland and you get a team score. So it will be very different this time having my own score.

“This season will be pretty busy as I’ve got the St Rule at St Andrews at the end of May, the British Ladies in Portstewart in June, the World Uni Games in July, followed by a few more British and English events in August.”

A former Scottish Schools Girls Ski Champion, McCook has focused solely on golf since her mid teens. Under the coaching of Dean Robertson and his close knit University of Stirling programme squad, her game has flourished and her handicap sits at +1. 

“My golf has improved loads at Stirling,” said McCook, who plans to turn pro in the future. “Being a joint programme means the girls practise with the guys and trying to keep up with them pulls the girls along.  And there’s always someone there when you’re practising which is motivating. We get the best of both worlds here. I get to play golf year round and also go away on winter training camps.

McCook is one of 150 students to be supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships for student athletes. Through the programme she receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies.

Stirling is one of 16 universities which, alongside 15 Scottish colleges, form the Winning Students network. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.

“As I’m studying sports the university encourage us to go and play golf as much as we can and they allow us extensions on coursework if we need it,” said McCook.

“Winning Students have supported me for all four years at Stirling and it’s been great. The funding enables me to play in a lot more events and help with travel, accommodation and training camps, and we get a living allowance.

“It means we don’t have to work part time jobs when we are trying to focus on being full time athletes as well as students.”

Hannah is joined on the Great Britain Golf team by former Winning Students supported University of Stirling golfer Henry Tomlinson (Royal Lytham & St Annes).