Exciting young golfer Will Hopkins has been offered a golden chance to hone his game in the United States with a sports scholarship at a top university.
After a successful exploratory trip to Kansas State University with his parents, Hopkins accepted the offer of a four-year scholarship, beginning next autumn.
The United States is the world’s most successful golfing nation with several of the world’s top players coming through its collegiate system, including Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
His offer came after impressing a Kansas State coach during an international match in Scotland, and was the latest high spot in a sensational year for the 17-year-old from Sleaford.
Next month he will bid to cap it all with a prestigious national title when he swaps the autumn chill for some November sunshine at the final of the Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship in Portugal.
The finals take place at Quinta do Lago, in the Algarve, from November 6 to 11 where the Carre’s Grammar School pupil will go up against the best young golfers in the UK.
Hopkins topped the 350-strong qualifying leaderboard thanks to a stunning nine-under par round of 64 at Waltham Windmill in May, which included seven birdies.
The score laid the foundations for a commanding win at the Lincolnshire Boys’ Championship, which also acted as a qualifier for the Telegraph championship, and smashed the course record by three shots.
In winning the title he joined some illustrious former winners including Tony Jacklin, the 1969 Open winner and Europe’s most successful Ryder Cup captain, as well as his own coach Andrew Hare, the former Walker Cup player.
Not finished there, Hopkins topped his county success by winning the Midlands Champion of Champions title last month thanks to another dominant performance at Coventry Golf Club.
The plus-two handicapper took a one-shot lead into the second and final round after shooting an opening 68.
He then showed a cool temperament by recording the best score of the second round – a 72 – to storm to a six-shot win, finishing as the only golfer under par in a high-calibre 23-strong field,
Hopkins has built an impressive CV in the junior game, and chalked up a notable double in becoming the Under 16s England Schoolboys champion two summers ago, and then U16 North of England Champion a year later.
This season he also reached the last 32 in an international field at the Scottish Boys Matchplay Championships where he lost on the final hole to the French number two-ranked junior.
He took up the game under the tutelage of Tim Hutton at Sudbrook Moor Golf Club before joining Sleaford Golf Club and latterly Belton Park where he was recently named the Players’ Player of the Year.