AMATEUR golfer Anthony Stirling is hoping to build on a breakthrough year playing for Lancashire.

The 26-year-old Harwood member was picked for the Red Rose senior side for the first time after finishing 10th at the Lancashire County Championships, where he attracted the attention of the selectors.

Stirling went on to play four out of five matches for Lancashire in the Northern Counties League, cementing his place in the side by winning all four of his singles matches and claiming victories in three out of the four foursomes matches he played.

While the young scratch golfer, whose brother Ian is assistant pro at Turton, accepts he will probably never break into the professional game, his main ambition is to one day play in the national amateur ranks and compete in a Walker Cup.

“I don’t believe I am good enough to turn professional, but I know there is a lot I can achieve in the amateur game,” said Stirling, who is also a member at Formby Golf Club.

“Winning a place in the Walker Cup team is obviously the ultimate accolade at this level, but to do that I will have to do well in the top amateur competitions.

“My main focus next year is on the English National Championships, which are going to be held on my home course at Formby. It is a real opportunity, as I know the course and believe I can do well there.”

Stirling’s top 10 finish at the county championships at Lancaster Golf Club in June proved to be perfectly timed. Lancashire lost heavily in their opening tie of the Northern Counties League against Northumberland, and the selectors turned to Stirling to help freshen up the team.

While they lost narrowly to Cumbria in his first match, Lancashire’s results improved, drawing 9-9 against Cheshire at Bramhall and earning a 12.5-5.5 win at Durham, either side of a confidence-boosting 13-5 victory over eventual champions Yorkshire at Formby.

“That was the big win, against Yorkshire, as they were the ones to beat and we absolutely battered them,” said the current Bury and District Golf Associaiton senior champion.

“For me, the whole experience of playing for Lancashire was great as it was my first attempt at this level.

“I have played for the county at every junior level and always felt I could do well for the seniors, but to win every singles match and have a winning record with my foursomes partner, Paul McFerran, was excellent.

“Hopefully I can keep my place and carry on improving next year, then who knows?”