Student Series

Dramatic finish as McClymont and Hill win at Le Golf National

The R&A
09 Mar 24
3 mins

There was a palpable sense of relief for both R&A Student Tour Series – France (STS) winners over Le Golf National’s Albatros course. University of Stirling student Lorna McClymont got back to winning ways, while Allan Hill of Maynooth University finally won his first STS event.  

Hill’s victory makes it seven of eight first-time winners this season, a credit to the STS’s strength in depth.

One-hole play-off

Hill needed a one-hole play-off over University of St Andrews student Adam Charlton after they finished all square on one-over-par 214. The 23-year-old Masters student, finance, made a bogey five on the par-4 final hole to Charlton’s six, after Charlton found water with his second shot. Five men shared third place, one shot out of the play-off. McClymont’s class told as she defended the title she won last season, recording her sixth STS victory. She also finished on one-over-par (217) thanks to a closing two-under-par 70, the low round of the day.  That was three shots better than Maynooth student Kate Lanigan, winner of this season’s STS – Italy. However, McClymont’s stumble at the 15th nearly opened the door for Lanigan to step through.

Allan Hill - Maynooth University

“The was stressful, but it’s nice to finally get over the line, especially since it’s my second last tournament. I’ve been trying to win for five years. It’s very satisfying to win on this golf course because it tests every facet of the game."

Success at last

Hill’s win made up for a few top-ten's during his STS career, including runner-up in the 2020 STS – Portugal event, a result that included a course-record, six-under-par 66 over the demanding Troia Golf course. Hill earned an Arnold Palmer Cup team place that season. However, a perennial left wrist injury has hampered the Roscommon Golf Club member ever since.  Hill was cruising with a three shot-lead after 14 holes, but made a quadruple bogey on the 15th hole after hitting three balls into the water. “The was stressful, but it’s nice to finally get over the line, especially since it’s my second last tournament,” said the 23-year-old, who graduates this year. “I’ve been trying to win for five years. It’s very satisfying to win on this golf course because it tests every facet of the game.

No expectations

“I didn’t have huge expectations this week but I was happy with my performance over the first two-and-a-half rounds or so. I thought I’d blown my chances at 15, but I hit a great hybrid from 220 yards at 17 to ten feet and holed the birdie putt. That gave me the momentum back and it turned out to be my day. “The fact I’m the seventh first-time winner this season is a credit to the Series, which has only got stronger since I started. It speaks to the calibre of players that anyone can step up and win.” McClymont’s calibre has never been in doubt. She’s a two-time order of merit winner, but has struggled this season. She also had issues at the 15th. She was in control of the event until she made her first mistake of the day when she double bogeyed the hole to move from four ahead to just two. She bounced back with birdies at the 16th and 18th to take the honours. “I’m satisfied to win the tournament, but there’s a sense of relief too,” McClymont said. “I was up there all week and to close it out is good.”
Lorna McClymont holes a long one on her way to her first victory of this year's Student Tour Series.

Extra special

The win had a wee bit of extra meaning for the Scottish internationalist, the highest-ranked player in the field at 140th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®). “I’ve obviously won here but this is maybe extra special because it’s my last university tournament abroad,” she said. The sports studies student also graduates this year. Special too since it’s the Milngavie Golf Club member’s first win of this series. “I’ve struggled in the last few events, so it’s good to prove to myself that I can still do it.” Aside from the 15th and 17th holes, McClymont hit every green in regulation. 

Acceptance and patience 

“I had a lot of acceptance and patience this week, which you need around a tough course like this," she added. "I didn’t even get too annoyed after 15.” This is a big year for McClymont. She’ll defend her Welsh and Irish Stroke Play titles, and there’s the matter of trying to qualify for the Curtis Cup at Sunningdale at the end of August.  She continued, “I’ve learned a lot about myself during this Series. This week reminded me that anything is possible. You just have to go out there and hit the shots.” She and Hill certainly did that this week. Fitting winners over one of Europe’s hardest courses. University of Central Lancaster student Lucas Martin made history by recording the first albatross, and his first, over the Albatros’s par-5, 9th hole, when his 3-wood approach from 275 yards found the bottom of the cup.  Unsighted, Martin didn’t know he’d holed the shot. “I thought it had ran over the green until I saw my dad (Simon) jumping up and down beside the green. So it was special for both of us.”