The R&A - Working for Golf

Joint Leaders in Tour Series Spain

Darcey Harry and Abbi Rowlands share the lead in the women’s field after the opening round of The R&A Student Tour Series – Spain, with Adam Charlton and Aaron Marshall joint leaders of the men’s tournament.

Harry and Rowlands didn’t let opening night nerves affect them in the first round over the Lakes Course at Infinitum Golf in Tarragona. They shot matching two-under 69s to share the first round lead by five shots despite making their Student Tour Series debuts.

Charlton of the University of St Andrews and Maynooth student Marshall went one shot better to shoot matching three-under 68s to hold a one-shot lead over Ben Brookes of the University of Stirling.

Impressive debut

Harry, a first-year equine science student at Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire, played alongside Stirling students Lorna McClymont and Louise Duncan. McClymont is going for her third straight Series win, while Duncan is the reigning Women’s Amateur Champion. However, the 18-year-old Welsh international more than held her own. The Royal Porthcawl member debuted with three birdies and no bogeys over the front nine. 

“I got off to a really good start and that gave me a boost,” said Harry, a plus four handicapper. “With this course it’s just making sure you hit the fairways and greens because if you get into trouble it’s going to be a bogey.” 

The former Junior Vagliano Trophy player dropped two shots on the tougher back nine, but offset one with a birdie on the par-5, 16th hole, and came off the course happy with her opening Student Tour round. “It was nice to make my start in this series with a good score,” she added. 

Birdie hat-trick

Rowlands, a plus one handicapper at Foxhills Golf Club who attends the Golf College in Lindfield, West Sussex, dropped just one shot on her debut, a bogey at the third. She then reeled off three consecutive birdies from the 6th, and went bogey free on the back nine.

“The putts were rolling in nicely on the front nine, but they dried up on the back nine,” said Rowlands, who finished runner up in the 2020 English Girls’ Open Amateur Stroke Play and was ninth in last year’s English Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

McClymont returned a three-over-par 75, but isn’t out of contention for her third straight Series victory. Duncan shot an eight-over-par 80, thanks largely to a 10 on the par-5, 16th hole.

Marshall’s 68 surprised him. The 2019 Irish Boys champion and former Jacques Leglise Trophy player made three birdies on the tougher back nine. 

“I’m quite surprised because I’ve been here a few days and the front nine has been more scoreable,” said the 20-year-old business management student. “I haven’t been playing great recently so it was nice to put a score together.”

Focused

Marshall held the first round in the Irish event last year only to finish tied 20th. The plus three member of Lisburn Golf Club struggled to 21st in Portugal but arrived in Spain with a different attitude.

“Today I was trying to pick out targets on the horizon rather than worry about trouble, just trying to be a bit more focussed,” he said.

Charlton, a second year biochemistry student, made his score over the front nine with birdies at the 3rd, 5th and 8thholes. He bogeyed the 17th but finished with a birdie.

Final goal

“I just kept it on the fairway and hit the greens which you have to do around here,” said Charlton, a plus four member of Ramsdale Hall Hotel and Golf Club. “I took advantage of the shorter holes where I had wedges into.”

The 19-year-old has two top-10s in this series, sixth in Ireland and fourth in Scotland last year. He said, “I’ve had a few good finished so hopefully I can have one more this week too.”

Students from 25 European universities/colleges are competing at Infinitum Golf this week, with the top players looking to qualify for The R&A Student Tour Series Final 4-6 April over Dumbarnie Links, and The Castle and Jubilee courses in St Andrews.

Round One Leaderboard

Round Two Tee Times