The English Golf Union put a lot of time and money into the development of young talent and the list of names of those who have prospered under their aegis is the testament to their watchful concern.

They have elite squads, A squads, B squads and junior squads, they are all outstandingly successful at every level of European golf. Why is it, then, that Andrew Sullivan, of Warwickshire, doesn't appear in any of them?

Sullivan, according to my information, is the best young player in the Midlands and that is an assertion that can be endorsed by the facts. He won the individual award when the ten Midland Counties played their qualifiers recently and he led from the very front when Warwickshire won the Four Counties Championship.

He won the Warwickshire Schools Championship at the age of 17 last year and the Midland Schools and on Monday of this week he shot a course-record 65 on his way to winning the Warwickshire Junior Championship at Sutton Coldfield.

Sullivan is, I am very reliably informed, "head and shoulders" above all the other youngsters in the Warwickshire squad. So why haven't the talent spotters at Woodhall Spa picked up on this young thruster?

"I haven't the slightest," says the lad himself. "I'll just keep plodding along and if they don't choose to pick me, it's up to them."

Actually, Sullivan has got the slightest and the story that is gaining credence in Warwickshire is that there is a black mark against him. On account of his diary keeping.

He was due to play in the Peter McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath last year and he turned up on Day Two instead of Day One.

"I wrote the wrong date down on my calendar," he explains. "I have apologised but perhaps they still hold it against me."

If that is the case, Sullivan is prepared to make his own way in the game. With the support of his parents, he is to dedicate himself to the game for the next two years at the end of which he hopes to have progressed to the stage where he can turn professional.

His coach, Neil McEwan, at Maxstoke Park, likens him to Steve Webster, who just happens to be Sullivan's model. Sullivan lives in Nuneaton and is a member at Purley Chase, which is just ten minutes from Atherstone where Webster and Paul Broadhurst learned their golf.

"He hits it miles, too," says McEwan in comparing his young charge with Webster. "And he's got the ability to shoot low scores, which is important. He's up there with the best that I've helped."

The best in this case include Sam Walker, Tom Whitehouse and Rob Steele, who, famously, played in this year's Open Championship. "He's a natural player," McEwan adds. "And's he's got great potential."

So natural a player that Sullivan feels that he doesn't need a coach during the season. His work with McEwan is all done in the winter, before the tournaments begin.

Not that Sullivan has played many events outside his age group.

He would have entered the English Amateur had it not clashed with his county's junior championship and it will be next season before he enters mainstream amateur golf. He began playing at the age ten after his father had taken him to the range at Purley Chase.

He had a scratch handicap by the age of 17, once shot 64 around Purley and now has a handicap of plus-two. His strength, he tells you, is his iron play. "I don't miss many greens (he missed two at Sutton this week) but my driving can be off."

And he considers himself to be a streaky putter. Warwickshire, a county that has a considerable reputation for the advancement of juvenile promise, will watch his progress with interest. So, eventually, might the England selectors.

* The old course record at Sutton Coldfield, before the course was altered, was the 64 carded by member Lee Jacks.

The record for the lengthened course was 67, held by another member, Ryan Wade before it was beaten twice in a day, by Sullivan and by Dale Marson, of Rugby, this week.