The conclusion to the first R&A Student Tour Series tournament of the 2022/23 season, the Stirling International at Montrose Golf Links, turned out a lot closer than many predicted. Especially in the women’s contest. Lorna McClymont took the women’s title while fellow Stirling University student George Cannon emerged victorious in the men’s tournament.
Cannon survived a three-man playoff with Stirling teammate Will Coxon and England’s Ben Willis of Edge College Golf. Cannon, 19, earned his first Student Tour Series win on his debut.McClymont, who won the 2021/22 Student Tour Series Order of Merit, won her fourth Student Tour Series event in her last five starts. She defeated St Andrews student Lucy Jamieson by a stroke, but the win wasn’t as comfortable as many expected. In fact, she nearly spoiled her birthday celebrations: it was the Scottish international’s 22nd birthday.The Milngavie Golf Club member began the second and final round with an eight-shot lead after a course record, 13-under-par 60, in round one. Thankfully, that gave her the cushion she needed to start the 2022/23 Student Tour Series off with a bang. But victory was close. Extremely close.
What a difference a day makes
While the 22-year-old was imperious, comfortable and in complete control in the opening round, she looked anything but in round two. The difference was obvious: 19 shots different!McClymont followed her 60 with a six-over-par 79 to finish seven-under-par for 36-holes. Jamieson, who won the R&A Student Tour Series Final at St Andrews in April, was a model of consistency with matching three-under-par 70s.“A win is always good, but this one is maybe bittersweet,” McClymont said.At age 22, McClymont is old enough and has played enough golf to understand the capricious nature of this game of golf. She got yet another lesson in just how fickle the royal and ancient game can be.
“Playing in a mist”
“It’s hard to describe but I felt as if I was playing in a mist today that was stopping me from doing what I normally do,” she said.“I’ll learn from both rounds of golf. Yesterday it was good to learn to have that control and how it feels. Today it was good because I learned there are times when golf doesn’t always go your way, and you have to take it on the chin and learn from it. That’s golf.”
Pushing each other all the way
McClymont earned 100 order of merit points, with Jameson picking up 80 points. Their one-two finish could foreshadow what’s to come over the next four tournaments. Jamieson, a member of Heswall Golf Club, finished fourth on last year’s order of merit, 250 points behind her close Scottish friend. Don’t be surprised if the gap is much closer this year, with both pushing each other all the way.
George Cannon survived a three-man playoff with Stirling teammate Will Coxon and England’s Ben Willis of Edge College as the 19-year-old earned his first Student Tour Series win on debut.
Wide open men’s order of merit race
If the first men’s event of the Student Tour Series of the season is anything to go by, then the men’s order of merit race could be wide open. Six players were tied for the lead on two-under-par at one point. Indeed, it wasn’t a question of if there would be a playoff, but how many would be it in it. Cannon, Coxon and Willis were the last men standing on two-under-par 140 after a tough, breezy day over the Montrose Links.It took three trips down the par-4 2nd hole to decide the winner. Coxon was eliminated with a bogey at the first extra hole. Cannon won with a par the third time he and Willis played the hole. The business and finance student was engulfed by his Stirling teammates as he tapped in a six inch putt to claim what he called the “biggest” win of his life. Not bad for someone who was only told last week he was in the Stirling team.“My golf has been really consistent the last two days,” Cannon said. “I’ve been really good off the tee. I was able to hit driver everywhere and I was in the fairway, and that’s always great start on every hole. I haven’t made too many mistakes either.
“I got a big confidence boost coming in here because I shot two 68s at Gleneagles last week (over the PGA Centenary course),” he added. “I’ve worked really hard over the summer and Dean (Robertson, Stirling high performance coach) has put in a lot of hard work with me. He’s given me a lot of confidence and you can’t beat that. I only got in the team last week and so it’s a great start. Happy days.”Cannon goes to the top of the men’s order of merit with 120 points, while Coxon and Willis are second with 95 points each.Final scores can be found here.The second Student Tour series takes place at Le Golf National in France, from 24-26 October.