A 21-YEAR-OLD Barry golfer is on course for a professional career after gaining a key to sporting success in the USA.

Nathan Chilcott was awarded a sports scholarship to attend Kirkwood College, Iowa this summer and will spent the next four years studying for a degree in business management while receiving the coaching that would make many would-be sports stars green with envy.

Nathan secured his scholarship through Glasgow based FirstPoint USA - the largest sports scholarship consultants in the world.

FirstPoint USA uses its extensive network in the US and acts as an intermediary between talented athletes and college coaches.

Rosie Witham from FirstPoint USA said: “American colleges are keen to attract the very best sporting talent from across the world and our experience and long standing relationships with over 2,500 colleges from Hawaii in the west to New York in the East, lets us provide the very best advice to any young athlete who has aspirations of living, studying and training in the US. We wish Nathan all the best in his new career.”

Around 8,500 UK students head to the US every year to study as part of the country’s extensive scholarship programme.

Scholarships are regularly awarded to students with skills in football, tennis, golf and athletics as well as swimming, hockey and ten pin bowling.

Nathan, a zero handicapped player, played for St Mary’s golf club junior team, and Southerndown golf club men’s team and moved to Barry when he was 19.

He said: “I was 12 yrs old when my dad introduced me and my brother Chris to golf at the Pencoed College course. We became a junior members at St Marys Golf Club, Pencoed.

“After playing in the grand final of the Faldo Series in Brazil First Point USA contacted me directly asking if I would be interested in studying in USA on a golf scholarship

“When I discovered I’d won the scholarship it was relief that I was finally given the chance

“I qualify to play for Kirkwood Eagles and practice daily and have tournaments in the autumn and spring. In my first tournament I tied 6th individually out of 120 entrants.

“We have a Coach at uni, Darin Pint, our home course is Hunters Ridge Golf Course, Marion, Iowa.

Nathan, whose sporting heroes are Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, and Thierry Henry, said his ultimate ambition was to be a successful professional golfer on tour.

“College life and the USA is,” he said, “Exciting, above and beyond my expectations, but to complete the four years of university I would need extra support and sponsorship.”

Mum Chilcott said she was proud of Nathan.

“It has been an achievement that he deserves,” she said.

“Both boys have always loved various sports and took to golf and loved it. Nathan went on to develop further and it became his main ambition in life. If he wasn’t in school or working he was at the golf club.

“I want him to work hard and achieve his dream of being a successful professional golfer, because it’s there for the taking.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping us get Nathan to the USA, family and friends have worked hard and supported him.”