Anthony Finnie, five, to play in Junior European Open qualifier

A five-year-old golfer is chasing his dream after reaching out to the stars at the Open Championship.

Anthony Finnie was inspired by a visit to Carnoustie where he met eventual champion Francesco Molinari and was given a golf ball by Rory McIlroy. Now, he’s become the youngest player ever to enter the Junior European Open.

From Renfrewshire in Scotland, Anthony took up golf a year ago and he’s already enjoyed the taste of success. He had a hole-in-one at the miniature challenge set up by the Irish Tourist Board at the Open and finished sixth last year with his dad Peter in the finals of the American Golf family challenge, held at the Belfry and broadcast on Sky Sports.

He relishes his weekly coaching sessions with Robbie King at the Carrick Golf Club on Loch Lomond, but Anthony and his parents have discovered it’s difficult to find competitive golf for five-year-olds. Now, he’s literally going to take on the big boys, by teeing up in a qualifier for the Junior European Open against anyone up to the age of 17.

It’s a scratch competition, so Anthony and his mum and dad know he has little chance even against the nine and 10-year-olds. However, he’s determined to take part, especially after being at the Open and meeting up with his hero Rory McIlroy and also getting a word of encouragement from Francesco Molinari.

As soon as the family got home from Carnoustie he asked his mum Suzette to enter him in the JEO.

“He just wants to be in a competition and we’re quite happy to give him that chance,” said his dad Peter. “The fun of being involved will make up for any disappointment in losing out to the older boys.”

Anthony’s entry form certainly was a headscratcher for the Founder of the Junior European Open, Fred Moghadam.

“When I saw he was only five, I called his mum and underlined the fact that it was a scratch competition, but she was fine about that,” Fred said.

“We will certainly welcome Anthony along to the qualifier at Alloa Golf Club and try to make him feel at home and let him enjoy the experience.”

The Alloa qualifier is one of many held across the UK and Europe before the Junior European Open’s finals on Spain’s Costa Del Sol in November, an event for boys and girls broadcast on Sky Sports Golf.

Anthony may not make it to Spain this year but watch out for him in 2019 and beyond.