Student Series

Familiar faces lead Student Tour Series after day one at Tróia

The R&A
01 Feb 23
3 mins

Lorna McClymont assumed her familiar position at the top of an R&A Student Tour Series leaderboard after the opening round of the Student Tour Series – Portugal at Troia Golf. 

Stirling teammate Greg Hurley, Halmstad University’s Jesper Littorin, Floris Veth of Saxion University and St Andrews student Tom Parker share the men’s lead.  McClymont holds a one-shot lead in the women’s event after an opening two-over-par 74. Littorin, Veth, Hurley and Parker also take a one-stroke advantage into round two after they were the only players to match level-par around the tough Troia layout.

Frustration mixed with contentment

There was a mixture of frustration and contentment when defending champion McClymont finished the opening round. The 22-year-old Scottish International was frustrated with her finish, but ultimately satisfied to shoot a two-over-par 74 over one of the toughest courses in Continental Europe. The sports science student reached two-under-par after three consecutive birdies from the 10th hole. However, four birdies on the last six holes left the Scottish international feeling slightly annoyed.   “I’m a wee bit frustrated, but if someone had said I’d start round here with a two-over-par score it would have been happy days,” McClymont said. “I had it going for a bit then just had a few bogeys, but the end of the day I was happy because bogeys are fine.”

Seeking third straight win

The Milngavie Golf Club member is seeking her third straight Student Tour Series win of the 2022/23 season after topping last year’s order of merit. She leads this year’s order of merit too, holding a 110 point lead over Halmstad’s Elice Fredriksson, who shares second place at Troia with Maynooth University student Kate Dwyer. As with the 2021-2022 Student Tour Series when she won four of the five tournaments on the schedule, McClymont is favourite to win this event for the second straight year, and repeat as order of merit winner.  She’s the highest ranked player in the field at 142nd on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Improved mood

McClymont turned up at Troia after finishing 35th in the Portuguese International Ladies Amateur Championship, where she didn’t feel her game was quite in tune. Her first round here has improved her mood. “Putting was good, tee to green was good, and my driving was good,” McClymont said. “I was just telling myself to commit more to tee shots rather than being scared in case I missed the fairway like I felt last year. I feel like I was able to get birdies in the hole and get a wee run going even though I threw in some bogeys.” Fredriksson and Dwyer were level with McClymont after 17 holes, but both bogeyed the par-five final hole. 

Building on French win

Littorin seems intent on starting the 2023 half of the Student Tour Series the way he finished the 2022 segment. The Halmstad student won the Student Tour Series – France at Le Golf National in October. The Swede is currently second on the order of merit behind Stirling University student George Cannon  “It wasn’t my best golf here last year because it’s a tricky golf course,” Littorin said. “I handled myself a little bit better today. It’s a case of when you miss the fairway just chip it out and take your medicine. “I hit a few good shots and a few not so good shots but it’s what I expected because it’s the first tournament of the year. So I was a bit rusty today but overall I’m happy. I handled myself very well.  “I have high confidence and belief (after winning in France).”
Jesper Littorin continued his fine form to lead the men's event in Portugal, seeking to back up his victory last time out at Le Golf National.

Local knowledge

Dutchman Veth used the experience of previous trips to Troia to reach the top of the leaderboard. The 26-year-old applied psychology student offset four bogeys with four birdies. “I’ve been here three times so I know the course well,” Veth said. “It’s a green in regulation course: the more you hit the better your chances of a good score. But the greens are small and you’re going to miss a few and make bogey. They key is not to get fed up, just keep grinding out there. I did that nicely today.” Englishman Hurley got his round off to the best possible start by birdieing the opening two holes. He is looking for his second Tour Series victory. The left hander won last year’s R&A Student Tour Series Final at St Andrews.  Parker began his round with an eagle at the par-5, 1st hole. The New Zealander rattled off four straight birdies from the 12th to hold the lead on his own on one under. However, he bogeyed the 18th hole for his level par score.