The R&A - Working for Golf

Brookes and Harry Lead in Spain

Ben Brookes and Darcey Harry go into the final round of The R&A Student Tour Series – Spain at Infinitum Golf in Tarragona with a chance to win the last qualifying event before next month’s final. 

Harry returned a second round four-over-par 75 to move into the lead on her own on two over par. The Royal Agricultural University student is two shots ahead of the University of Stirling’s Lorna McClymont, who is chasing her third consecutive Series win. 

Brookes’s advantage is more precarious. The Stirling student sits on four under par after a second successive 69. He is one shot ahead of Trinity College’s Eoin Sullivan, with three players just two shots off the pace.

Front nine advantage

Brookes leads thanks to taking advantage of the front nine over Infinitum Golf’s Lakes course, which he played in two under par. 

“I took advantage of the front nine, which is what you have to do here because it’s much more scoreable,” the plus four member of Sandbach Golf Club said. “I drove the ball better today but it was hard to make birdies on the back nine because a few pins were in tough spots. 

“I feel like my game has been consistent the last two days so hopefully it can stay that way tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”

A different ball game

The 20-year-old sports business management student is a one-time top level cricket player who opted for golf over cricket two years before he enrolled at Stirling. 

“I played county cricket for Cheshire but stopped about two years before University to concentrate on golf. I was getting better at golf and enjoying it more. The two sports are quite similar. One’s a still ball game as opposed to a moving ball one, but you still need good hand/eye coordination.”

His decision to jettison the moving ball game might just deliver him his first victory in an R&A Student Tour Series event.

Closing eagle 

Sullivan ensured his place in the final group alongside Brookes thanks to an eagle at the par-5 last. His 6-iron approach from 202 yards ended up eight feet from the flag and the Irishman rolled in the putt to briefly take the lead on his own.

“I was obviously delighted with my finish,” said Sullivan, who is studying business and economics at Trinity. “There were a lot of tough putts on the back nine, so to finish with an eagle was great.”

Harry has tried to plot her way around the Lakes Course, trying to hit fairways and greens and keep bogeys off her card. That approach paid dividends in an opening 69, but conditions conspired against her slightly in round two.

Tougher test

“The wind was stronger today so the course was more difficult, especially that back nine,” Harry said. “There were about five holes I struggled with because it’s a long club into the green. On this course you’ve got to play the front nine well and hang on a bit on the back. It’s just a case of staying patient because others are going to drop shots too.”

The plus four Royal Porthcawl member is making her debut in the Student Tour Series, but has not looked out of place. 

She added, “It’s my first start tournament of the season after a long time off, and it’s nice to see I’m playing steady golf. I’m looking forward to the final round.”

The 18-year-old equine science student hopes to make the Welsh team for the upcoming European Nations Cup. She’ll have no problem if she wins in her first start against Europe’s top student golfers.

McClymont chance

Stirling student McClymont can still win her third straight Student Tour Series title following victories in Portugal and Ireland. She would be closer to the lead if she had maintained her opening nine form of three birdies, an eagle and just one bogey to be out four under.

“I had it going when I holed out with a pitching wedge at the fifth from the 117 yards and then birdied eight and nine,” she said.

A seven at the par-4, 13th when she found sandy scrubland left of the fairway stopped her progress. She also finished with bogey. She added, “I stayed calm and just kept going, which is all you can do. It’s just a case of one shot at a time tomorrow.”