JOE Retford’s dream of becoming a professional golfer has moved ever closer to reality after the Wiltshire teenager landed a four-year gold scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, USA.

Retford, 18, will move from his Bradford-on-Avon home where he works at Energy Management, to take up his scholarship at the 32,000-student-populated VCU this Autumn.

Alongside studying a biology-related subject, Retford will compete in tournaments all over the east coast of the United States as well as in Puerto Rico.

“Although, I’m nervous to go away, I’m really looking forward to the next four years in Virginia,” said Retford.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction to help me reach my goal of playing professional golf around the world.

“I can’t wait to get in the team environment and show them what I have to offer.”

Before leaving for America, the reigning West of England U18 champion has a busy summer ahead of him, playing in around 20 regional, national and international men’s amateur golf events – including the Italian Amateur Open Championship.