The Castle Course at St Andrews provides the backdrop for an exciting finale to the R&A Student Tour Series. The fifth and final event determines the men’s and women’s order of merit winners, and which golfers take home fantastic bonus prizes on offer to Europe’s top student golfers.
Halmstad student Jesper Littorin and Stirling University’s Greg Hurley share the lead on two-under-par 142 in the men’s tournament after a tough day at Dumbarnie Links. They hold a one-shot lead over Maynooth’s Ryan Griffin and St Andrews student Roddy McAuley, with Griffin needing a good final round to overhaul teammate David Kitt at the top of the men’s order of merit.
St Andrews player Lucy Jamieson takes a four-shot lead over Stirling’s Lorna McClymont. Jamieson is the only women under par after 36 holes, sitting on a one-under 146 total. However, McClymont is seeking her fourth straight win. She needs just one good round to win the order of merit. Barring a collapse, the Milngavie member should finish atop the women’s table.
Great final round incentives
The incentives for good play in the final round are impressive. Order of merit winners receive spots in this year’s Arnold Palmer Cup team. The male student who wins the final event gains a spot in a Challenge Tour event, while the women’s champion tees it up in an LET Access Series tournament.
Swedish player Littorin fashioned a three-under 69 in the rain and winds that swept over the Dumbarnie course. The 23-year-old sports science student made six birdies and dropped three shots to get into contention.
“I played very well today in tough conditions,” said Littorin, a plus two handicapper.
“The combination of the wind and the rain made it difficult, especially in the middle of the round. So I’m happy to go into tomorrow with a chance of winning.”
The member of Lidingö Golfklubb near Stockholm has played among the professionals with 12 appearances in Nordic Golf League. Two cuts made has given him an Official World Golf Ranking of 1,706th.
“Playing in Nordic League events has been a good learning experience so to play in the Challenge Tour would be even better.”
Club slip hampers Hurley
Hurley might have the lead on his own if not for a bad break on the 10th tee that led to a triple bogey seven and a two-over-par 74.
“The club slipped in my hand and I lost a ball, then made a three-putt just to top things off,” Hurley said. “I hung in well to make three birdies in the last four holes to keep myself in it.
“If you’d told me at the start of the week I’d have a chance to win with a round to go I’d have absolutely agreed. I reminded myself of that over the back nine. I obviously couldn’t win it today but I could have lost it.”
Griffin creates excellent opportunity
Griffin, joint winner in Portugal with teammate Jordan Boles, gave himself an excellent opportunity of becoming order of merit winner with a one-over-par 73. He began the tournament 87 points behind Kitt, but has everything to play for with 240 points going to the final winner.
“There are huge benefits tomorrow,” Griffin said. “They’re a great incentive to do your homework and make sure every shot counts at The Castle.”
Round of the day
McAuley is in contention thanks to a bogey free 67, five-under-par. “It's the best score I’ve ever shot in a tournament – my previous best was 68 – and the first time I haven’t made a bogey,” the 20-year-old said.
Jameson overcomes brutal conditions
Playing in the worst of the weather, Jamieson returned a one-over-par 74 to sit atop the women’s leaderboard thanks to a two-under-par front nine of 35.
“You know it’s been a tough day when you’re not sure if you’re actually wet because you’re that wet. It was really brutal,” said Jamieson, who is studying chemistry. “We had wind, rain and then it got very cold.
“I made a good score over the front nine, and that was a bonus because I sort of had shots in bank for the back nine.”
No room for complacency
McClymont entered this week with a commanding 140 point lead over Stirling teammate Nicola Slater, who heads into the final round eight shots off the lead. While McClymont’s points lead is surely unassailable, there will be no room for complacency for the Scottish international.
“The approach is just to go for it again like I did today,” said McClymont, who returned a one-under-par 72. “I’ll be sensible when I need to be, but trust myself and take risks if I feel I can. I won’t be thinking about the order of merit, but just be trying and enjoy the round and have fun.”