- Top student golfers travel to St Andrews for The R&A’s Foundation Scholars Tournament. Follow end of round scoring.
- Place in 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup team on offer for leading men’s player, and chance to play in Ladies European Tour event for top placed woman.
- Former R&A Foundation Scholars include Hideki Matsuyama, Francesco Molinari and Catriona Matthew.
The annual R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament gets underway in St Andrews on Monday.
Contested over 54 holes at the Eden and Old Courses, the two-day tournament offers the leading men’s player a place on the European Arnold Palmer Cup team to face the USA, with the leading women’s player receiving a starting place at a Ladies European Tour event.
The tournament features student golfers who receive financial assistance from The R&A to enable them to continue to play competitive golf while completing their studies. Previous scholars include four-time winner on the PGA Tour Hideki Matsuyama, European Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari and former Women’s British Open champion and Solheim Cup player, Catriona Matthew.
Last year, Mathias Eggenberger, an alumnus of the University of Stirling completed an impressive double after successfully defending the title he won in 2015. The up and coming Swiss golfer will not return in 2017, however, after securing his card on the Pro Golf Tour in Germany.
Gaining his place on the European Arnold Palmer Cup team in 2015 and 2016 as a result of his success at the Foundation Scholars Tournament, Eggenberger achieved his goal of lifting the trophy last year when Europe defeated the USA at Formby.
Men to watch
Northumbria University’s Andrew Wilson will be hoping to overcome the disappointment of losing out to Eggenberger in a play-off last year with another impressive performance in St Andrews.
Former Junior Open Champion Kevin LeBlanc will play in his first Foundation Scholars Tournament. The Maynooth University golfer won The R&A’s Junior Open, which is played every second year in the week of The Open, in 2014 at West Lancashire. LeBlanc also gained invaluable experience when he was a member of the Great Britain and Ireland Jacques Leglise Trophy team in August.
Maynooth’s Stuart Grehan, who is 55th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ – the highest ranked amateur golfer in the field - has already secured his place in the 2017 European Arnold Palmer Cup team. Grehan helped Ireland to a third place finish in the Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships in Mexico in September, as well as featuring in the St Andrews Trophy in July.
Women to watch
Last year’s women’s champion Chloe Ryan returns this year and will begin the defence of her title on the Eden Course grouped with Christopher Johnston and Jack McDonnell.
Ryan, from University College Dublin, posted a final round 72 to win by two shots from Jessica Ross from Queen’s University Belfast in 2016. As a result of her memorable victory, Ryan played in her first professional tournament on the Ladies European Tour, travelling to Germany to compete in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters in September.
As well as winning the Irish Intervarsity Championship in October, the 23-year-old represented The R&A at the Argentine Women’s Open in Buenos Aires alongside fellow scholar Gemma Batty.
Batty, from the University of Stirling, also returns to play in this year’s Foundation Scholars Tournament after finishing third in 2016. She followed that performance with wins at the Slovenian Amateur, the English Women's Open Match Play and just last week, the Scottish Student Golf Championships.
Sinead Sexton from Maynooth will also be looking to make an impact in St Andrews following her recent victory in the BUCS Tour’s Exeter Invitational in March.
You can follow end of round scoring here.
Each year, The R&A invests more than £300,000 in student and university golf. Currently, The R&A supports golf programmes at 15 universities and awards over 120 individual Foundation scholarships to players from all over the world.