Saints Golf win National Championship!May 4th, 2017
On a day of drama and high emotion Saints Golf secured a first National Championship title for the University of St Andrews in 19 years, winning 5-4 over the University of Bournemouth at Moortown GC in Leeds.
After a 7-2 semi-final win over the 2013 Champions, Exeter University, we would go on to face Bournemouth in the 36 hole final after their fantastic win over defending champions the University of Stirling. The format of the final was 3 matches of morning foursomes followed by 6 singles encounters in the afternoon. Our team has been founded this year on strong partnerships and this would be evident once again as after leading by 3-0 at lunch in the semi-final we would also take a lead of 2-1 into the final singles matches. Wins of 2&1 from Matthew Myers /Peter Kerr and 5&4 from George Burns/Bjorn Bojeson edged us in front with Jack Rogan/Tobias Hein coming up just short against the final strong Bournemouth pairing. So the scene was set for an afternoon of fantastic yet tense golf with everything on the line for both teams. A slight change to the playing order was made with BUCS Stroke Play Champion Matthew Myers continuing to lead from the front and the experienced George Burns dropping to the back in the anchor man role, a decision that would prove telling at the end of play. With the lead man for Bournemouth clearly having difficulty with his game Matthew would turn in the professional performance we expect from him by dominating from the start, shaking hands as early as the 10th green with a 9&8 victory. So with 3 points in the bag and only 2 required from five games in which we held advantages things were looking positive, however National Championships do not come as easily as that and in the end we had to dig to the very bottom to find enough to carry us over the line. Captain Bjorn Bojesen would agonisingly let slip a 3 hole lead late in the back 9 as inspired play from his opponent in his final ever university match would edge that tie by 1 hole in Bournemouth’s favour. The last four games would push the tensions ever higher as all went to the final two holes, a difficult par 3 and grand sweeping par 4 with the green ready to host the drama right in front of the club house windows. Playing at number three Tobias Hein found a 1 up lead through 15 holes turn into him trailing by 1 going up the last, however his opponent would unbelievably find the trees from the tee and lose his ball giving Tobias the chance for a par to halve the match which under pressure he took. With Peter Kerr unable to claw back a deficit from the front nine and lose his match on the 18th the score stood level at 3 ½ – 3 ½ with two matches on the course. Jack Rogan playing at number five won the 16th to move to 2 up with 2 to play, however with Jack finding bunkers at both 17 and 18 his opponent was able to close with two pars for an eventual halved match moving the score to 4 – 4 and meaning everything now hinged on our anchor man, George Burns. After having raced to a 4 hole advantage through 12 holes he was pegged back by Bournemouth’s strongest player and reached the 16th green 2 up but in the bunker and his opponent in for a par. After splashing out to 8 feet there was a feeling the match would come down to this putt, George had to reach into all his years of experience playing at national level to roll the putt in and the emotion was clearly visible as it hit the bottom of the cup. Both players found the green on 17 and George held his nerve to halve the hole and seal the victory! It has been a long journey to reach here with many people involved in the support for the team which has culminated in a month in which we have claimed both the National Stroke Play title and become the National Champions.
Director of Golf and Head Coach, David Watt, said “I am so proud of the boys who have given everything this year; they have played their hearts out and deserve every bit of success that comes their way, it has been an honour to coach them. I would like to thank everyone at Saints Sport who have provided unwavering support over the years and believed in the vision of where we believed our golf programme should be – at the pinnacle of University sport. We will now set our sights to building on this success and have the European Championships to work towards in September.”