• Maynooth University’s Stuart Grehan and Exeter University’s Emily Toy win the R&A’s Foundation Scholars Tournament in St Andrews.
• Tournament featured student golfers who receive financial support from The R&A to enable them to play competitive golf while completing their studies.
Stuart Grehan battled a ferocious wind to claim The R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament title in St Andrews on Tuesday. Emily Toy, playing the Old Course for the first time, won the women’s event.
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.
Grehan, who studies at Maynooth University just outside Dublin, leapfrogged his university teammate and overnight leader John Murphy, with a 72 to finish on five-under-par and record an overall score of 207 for 54 holes.
Murphy finished joint runner-up alongside Stirling University’s Jordan Sundborg on two-under-par.
Grehan, the highest ranked amateur golfer in the field, recorded four birdies in the final round in difficult conditions. He said, “I’m over the moon. I just got back from Spain on Sunday night so to come here and play well and get the win makes me really happy.
“It is always special coming back to the Home of Golf. I really enjoy the course, it gives you a lot of different options off the tees. Every time I come here I relish playing it.
“It was really tough. It was tricky so I was just delighted to shoot even par.”
Grehan, who 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, continued, “The support The R&A has given me over the past few years has been great in terms of events and also financially with trying to get through college. I thank The R&A a lot and especially Alison White for all she has done for student golf – I think she deserves a lot of credit.”
In the women’s competition, Exeter University’s Emily Toy, posted a final round of 74 to win by two shots on eight-under-par. 2016 champion, Chloe Ryan from University College Dublin, shared second place with Stirling University’s Sinead Sexton on six-under-par.
Toy, a member of the English winning Girls Home Internationals side in 2016, said, “I’ve been playing good golf now for a couple of months. It’s nice to finish it off with a win.
“The front nine was hard today. The first seven holes are all in one direction into off the left. It was an easier finish on the final nine holes – that helped a lot.”
On securing a start at a Ladies European Tour event as a result of her victory, Toy commented, “That’s amazing. That’s the aim anyway – to be on Tour with those girls. It will be nice to see how they do things and learn from them. That should be a good experience.”
“All the scholars are helped massively by The R&A and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.”
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.
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.