Scottish Student Championships24/03/2019
The Men’s Championship developed in absorbing fashion throughout 36 holes on Moray Old, on a day when par represented excellent golf.
On a tough day for chasing, overnight leader James Blyth (St Andrews) set out knowing that avoiding mistakes was key. Two bogeys and two birdies heading out into the prevailing wind was just what the doctor ordered and having dropped shots at 13 and 16 he would have been pretty satisfied over lunch with a 73 (+2) for a total of +3 and a four stroke lead.
Stirling duo Michael Lawrie and Robert Foley led the chasing pack on +7, with UHI’s Alistair MacNaughton and Riccardo Cellerino a further two behind on +9.
With darkening skies the afternoon round played out dramatically – and at times slowly – with the top five staying just about in touch throughout, albeit never quite close enough to really ramp up the pressure on Blyth.
Cellerino played lots of good golf but would rue costly double-bogeys on the 2nd and 8th which left him with too much to do. A closing 75 gave him a total of +13 and fifth place.
Robert Foley also had to respond to a front nine of 40, including a 7 on the par-5 2nd and although he rallied back in level par he would finish just outside the top three, on a total of +12.
Team mate Michael Lawrie followed a very similar path, with the fiercely difficult Old Course front nine again showing its teeth. Despite a birdie three at the first hole he would struggle to the turn in 41 as a consequence of double bogeys at the fourth and seventh.
Amidst the slide of the chasers only Alistair MacNaughton may have felt like he was heading in the right direction. Four threes helped him to the turn in 36 and he produced a gritty back nine of 37 to post a clubhouse total of 293 (+11).
With the backdrop of faltering challenges James Blyth’s primary task was to stick to his game plan and get round with the minimum of mistakes. Calamity called on the monstrously tough 2nd hole which yielded a triple-bogey 8. However this perhaps galvanised things for the leader, as he negotiated the rest of the front nine in level par to turn in +3. The back nine, whilst a little scrappy, brought relatively little drama for Blyth and he did very well to par the final five holes under heavy skies and visible nerves to post a final round of 77 – probably the most welcome 77 of his career.
Blyth therefore deservedly claimed the Scottish Students Title and the famous Jack Allan Trophy.
Full Results can be found at http://caix.dk/bucs.html#/competition/1628291/leaderboard