- Third event of R&A Student Tour Series underway in Madrid this week
- Hazel MacGarvie has won the first two women’s events
- Laird Shepherd wins in Scotland
- Josh Mackin claimed Irish win in playoff
After a gripping final round at Carton House in Ireland last month, the inaugural R&A Student Tour Series has moved on to event three in Madrid this week.
Being played at the Centro Nacional de Golf, where world number five Jon Rahm won the first of his back-to-back Spanish Open titles, the leading student golfers will face a strong test of golf.
Home to the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, the venue is one of the leading examples of sustainable golf facilities in the world, with recently installed solar panels. supported by The R&A, powering their operations including the Spanish National Performance Centre.
Playing in the third of four tournaments, the R&A Student Tour Series competitors are aiming to earn as many Order of Merit points as possible by February 2020. The leading 60 players after the fourth event on the Tour Series, played in Portugal, will be invited to the Tour Series Final in Carnoustie and St Andrews.
MacGarvie leads the way after dominate Tour Series start
University of Stirling golfer Hazel MacGarvie has been dominant in the Series winning the first two events with a dramatic late finish in Scotland and a dominant performance in Ireland.
Playing at Fairmont St Andrews in Scotland and unknowingly trailing by one shot from clubhouse leader Lorna McClymont (SRUC) as she reached the 54th and final hole, MacGarvie produced a stunning eagle vaulting her into first place to secure maximum Order of Merit points in the inaugural Tour Series event.
MacGarvie’s Scotland Women’s Squad colleague and GB&I Vagliano Squad member Chloe Goadby then arrived on the final tee needing an eagle of her own to tie MacGarvie, narrowly missing out with a birdie, she finished tied with McClymont in second place and secure 75 Order of Merit points.
See the final women's leaderboard from the R&A Student Tour Series Scotland here
MacGarvie continues winning form
One week later at Carton House in Ireland, host venue of the 2018 World Amateur Team Championships, MacGarvie continued her impressive winning form. After a solid level par 72 in the first round facing strong gusts of wind, the R&A scholar took a five shot lead which she never relinquished throughout the week.
Her second round of 74 was bettered by one shot by the 2019 R&A Foundation Scholars Champion McClymont, who was seeking her own first Student Tour Series win. However with calm sunny conditions in the final round, MacGarvie showed her class with a three-under-par 69, the best round of the day by five shots, culminating in a ten shot victory.
Local favourite Eleanor Metcalfe from tournament hosts Maynooth University capped off a solid week finishing in third place which moved her to fourth place on the Tour Series Order of Merit.
See the final women's leaderboard from the R&A Student Tour Series Ireland here
Shepherd prevails in battle with Foley
In the men’s draw of the Scotland tournament, two time Scottish Student Sport Champion and University of Stirling golfer Laird Shepherd, who has been plagued with injuries in 2019, bounced back in spectacular fashion in only his second event back. Playing in strong winds, Shepherd fired a five-under-par 67 in round one to open up a three-shot lead over Allan Hill from Maynooth University.
Shepherd came back to the field in round two shooting a 74, allowing his teammate Robert Foley, who recorded a round of 70, to move into contention. The final round was set for an exciting finish with the duo paired together in the final group.
After a close start, Shepherd found himself four shots behind Foley with only six holes to play in the tournament. However, thanks to a mix of fortune, belligerence and outright class – a highlight being a majestic 200+ yard approach to the last – the fourth-year student completed a thrilling comeback to win by two shots from Foley.
See the final men's leaderboard from the R&A Student Tour Series Scotland here
Mackin prevails in playoff
The R&A Students Tour Series Ireland provided a week of fierce competition amongst the men with Josh Mackin, who joined Maynooth University near Dublin in September this year, prevailing in a playoff.
Playing in tough conditions at Carton House, Mackin who represented Ireland at the Boys’ Home Internationals, was four off the pace after the opening round.
Taking advantage of a reprieve in the weather during the second round, Mackin moved himself into contention with an under-par round. He was one of five players to shoot under par including Scott MacPherson of Stirling who produced the best round of the day with a three-under-par 69.
With gentler winds and sunshine greeting players in the final round the leading student golfers showed their class with ten players, more than a third of the field, scoring under par.
Coming out of the pack, a phenomenal nine birdies in 13 holes helped Aaron Ryan of Maynooth to produce a 65, the best score of the week and move into contention. Also impressing in the final round was Ryan’s teammate Allan Hill who recorded a 67. Hill had started the week with a seven-over-par 79, the impressive final round vaulting him into the top-five and helping move him to third on the Tour Series Order of Merit.
The final group of Mackin and Jack Broun of Stirling were closely matched throughout the first two and a half rounds, but Mackin managed to stretch to a two-shot lead with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.
On the 18th and playing in front of a strong crowd, Broun calmly rolled in a 15-foot putt for eagle to tie for the lead, forcing a playoff.
Back on the par-3 17th tee, winning the toss to play first, Mackin mentally recovered in impressive fashion, drilling a perfectly faded iron in to four feet. Broun faced a long putt and after taking three putts, Mackin slotted home for his first Student Tour Series victory.
See the final men's leaderboard from the R&A Student Tour Series Ireland here