Student Series

Old Course set for a fitting STS finale

The R&A
02 Apr 24
3 mins
Calculators will be needed for the closing round of The R&A Student Tour Series – Final over the Old Course at St Andrews to figure out who’s going to finish number one on the men’s and women’s order of merit tables. There’s much to play for in the quest to win a championship at the home of golf. Maynooth University students Ryan Griffin and Kate Lanigan are respective 2023/24 men’s and women’s leaders. The easiest way for both to finish number one is to win the season’s fifth and final event over golf’s most iconic course. If only it were that simple.

In control of his own destiny

Griffin is in control of his own destiny. A one-under-par 71 over the Jubilee Course to go with an opening 75 gives him a one-shot lead on 146 over Loughborough University’s Dan Nicholls. More importantly, the final-year Maynooth student is two shots ahead of University of Stirling player Will Coxon, number two on the order of merit. Just seven points separate the pair, with Griffin on 275 to Coxon’s 268. Since 180 points go to whoever wins over the Old Course, the permutations are almost endless. Lanigan has a healthy 25 point lead – 315 to 290 –over Halmstad University student Elice Fredriksson. Lorna McClymont sits in third place on 220 points. She can still top the order of merit for the third straight year if she wins an incredible eighth tournament in her final event of the STS. With 150 winning points up for grabs, much can change at the top of the table.

Abacuses all round

St Andrews student Lucy Jameson mandated abacuses all round when she used home course advantage to shoot a six-under-par 68 in tough, windy conditions that saw more scores start with an 8 than a 7. Jameson has a six-shot lead over McClymont. Lanigan is 11 shots off the pace in third, with Fredriksson lying in fifth place, one shot behind St Andrews student Ellie Monk and only two strokes in arrears of Lanigan. The Halmstad student recorded a one-over 75 to Lanigan’s 78. Jamieson can’t win the order of merit. She has her sights set on her third-career STS win. Her previous two came at St Andrews in final event of the 2022/23 season, and over the tough Troia Golf Resort course last February. “This is my best round over the Jubilee,” said Jameson, who bogeyed the first hole before making seven birdies including the last three holes. “It was a hard wind today, playing with a side wind always is. I think it suits me when conditions are hard because I know other people are struggling. I’m a good ball striker and feel I have good control in the wind.”
Ryan Griffin is in the mix to take his second order of merit title. 

Whatever happens happens 

Lanigan, this season’s STS Italy winner, is also used to the wind. However, her round came apart when she made a quadruple bogey on the 15th hole.  “It was all good today apart from my quad,” Lanigan said. “I got a bad lie against the bunker and just had a bit of a mess. “I’m annoyed I’m not in a position to win the tournament. I’m not really thinking of winning the order of merit. I want to shoot an under par score over the Old Course and whatever happens happens.” Whatever happens, she has to finish ahead of Fredriksson. McClymont needs much to go her way if she is to end her student days with her eighth STS victory.

Giving her everything

“It’s going to be fun tomorrow because it’s always fun being the one chasing rather than having to keep the lead, especially on the Old Course,” McClymont said. “So I’m going to give it everything in my last Student Tour Series event.” Giving it their all hasn’t been easy for walking wounded Griffin and Coxon. The Maynooth player is struggling with a bad back he picked up during a training session, while Stirling player Coxon hurt his knee in a tournament at Moray Golf Club last week. “The back is holding up,” Griffin said. “It would be great to win the order of merit again and to win over the Old Course, both would be a dream but we’ll leave that until tomorrow and try to get the job done.” He nearly did last year, finishing joint second. Coxon has already done the job over the Old Course. He won this tournament last season. 

Roles reversed

“I was sloppy at the start today, with too many three putts,” Coxon said. “But I’m still in it. I managed to hold Ryan off last year so it will be interesting to see how it is tomorrow with the roles reversed and me chasing him.” And for those with calculators at the ready too.