Performance Golf – Semester 1 Success
The first semester for the Saints Golf Performance Programme was very exciting with new faces ready to mark their impression on the team and returning members eager to continue on from their success of winning the BUCS National Championships the previous academic year.
Roddy McAuley (winner of the 2021 BUCS Fife Tournament) and Megan Ashley, our Scottish Women’s International, returned for their fourth year in the team. Lucy Jamieson returned from success winning the Home Internationals with the England Team for her third year on the team. Elise Bishop, Belgian International Player, came back for the semester having made her debut on the Ladies European Tour. Also starting their second year on the team is Adam Charlton who had a very impressive first season with a highlight of a 9 under par round in his first tournament round as a university player. Josie Baker, who had great success in the previous season but narrowly missed out on a win on a few occasions, returned as keen as ever for her fifth year here. Additionally, we saw Tom Parker and Will Draper join us on the St Leonard’s Masters Scholarship. They brought with them a vast wealth of experience, playing collegiate golf in the States, to the team. Charlie Reynolds joined us for his first year at the University hoping to advance on his success as the Kent Junior County Captain. Despite starting in his second year of study here, James Conn impressed with some strong finishes in his first year to earn his spot on the team. Last but certainly not least, Ian Muir was ready to commence his first semester as Director of Golf by preparing the players for their fast-approaching stroke play tournaments in September and October.
The first of these was the first event of the R&A Student Tour Series at Montrose Golf Club in Scotland which was reduced to 36 holes due to the unfortunate passing of Her Majesty The Queen. In the men’s event, Roddy McAuley was our strongest finisher in 4th place after two very solid level par rounds. As for the women’s event, Lucy Jamieson finished in 2nd place narrowly missing out by one shot after shooting 6 under par for her two rounds. Nonetheless, she expressed outstanding patience and resilience given that she was at a 10-shot deficit heading into the final round. Megan Ashley also gave an impressive performance finishing in 3rd place.
The following week saw the team compete at Alyth Golf Club for the BUCS Autumn Trophy on fast and slopey greens. In the women’s event, Megan Ashley and Elise Bishop produced steady rounds to finish 3rd and 4th respectively. As for the men’s tournament, we picked up our first piece of silverware of the academic year by winning the team event. Four of our players yielded top 10 finishes with the strongest finish in the team coming from Adam Charlton finishing second. Adam was in contention the whole tournament and demonstrated great displays of determination and resilience when golf was being, well, golf.
The team then took out their passports to travel to France for the second instalment of the R&A Student Tour Series at the stunning Le Golf National (host course of the 2018 Ryder Cup). This venue can only be summed up in one way. Wow! The strongest finish in the men’s event came from James Conn who put together three solid rounds to pick up his first order of merit points of the campaign. In the women’s event, Megan Ashley, and Elise Bishop grinded it out around the demanding course to produce top 10 finishes.
With the completion of all our semester’s stroke play tournaments, we faced our first fixture of the BUCS matchplay season away at Royal Lytham to UCLAN. We got off to an auspicious start with all 8 players winning their respective games. The matches then came thick and fast.
Our first home game of the season was on a blustery Jubilee course which accumulated into a 6.5-1.5 victory over the University of Liverpool.
The following week saw the team face a very seasoned UHI team at the magnificent Royal Dornoch. We knew that this fixture was not going to be easy. After Josie Baker picking up the team’s first point of the day, Roddy McAuley stroked home a 5ft par putt on the 18th hole to secure a 5-3 win for us.
Our next fixture saw us return to the Jubilee to face a strong Northumbria side. This match saw lots of the matches go to the final stages with many of our players demonstrating their ability to deliver under pressure, culminating in a 7-1 win.
The penultimate game of the season was an arduous trip south to Ramside Hall to face Durham University in some typical parklands winter conditions. Many plugged balls later, the team came out on top with a result of 5.5-2.5 which put them at the top of the league with one game to play.
Before our final game, once a year, St Andrews Links hosts a fun tradition where people of the town get to play the Old Course in reverse. Our team of Will Draper, Tom Parker, Adam Charlton, and Roddy McAuley shot a magnificent 17 under par to win the competition with Roddy’s eagle from the 1st tee to the 17th green massively helping towards this effort. Amazingly, Will went around the reversed course with his own ball in a breath-taking 9 under par – perhaps an unofficial course record?
Unfortunately, our final game of the season against Stirling University has been postponed until next semester given the copious number of frost-delayed days on the links. This meant that we finished the 2022 calendar year undefeated. A win or a draw will mean that we finish 1st in the Northern Premier League.
As well as this fixture, next semester we look forward to trips to Portugal and Spain for the remaining legs of the R&A Student Tour series for some long-awaited sunshine. We will also be beginning the defence of the BUCS National Championship (the draw is yet to be confirmed) where we anticipate some difficult but opportunistic fixtures.