KirkwoodGolf: R&A Foundation Scholars' Tournament

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

R&A Foundation Scholars' Tournament

Sian James on the 18th tee at the Old Course in her final round of the R&A Scholars' tournament today.

TOP OF THE CLASS - Sian James and Paul Betty at St Andrews today.

Paul Betty keeps men's title in Scotland: Sian

James takes women's crown to Birmingham

The men's title stayed in Scotland thanks to a splendid effort from Paul Betty, the women's championship went over the Border to Birmingham with Sian James at the end of the R&A Foundation Scholars' tournament, of which the first two rounds were played over the Eden Course, St Andrews on Monday and the third and final round over the Old Course today.
Stirling University student Paul Betty, a member of the Hayston Golf Club, Glasgow, came from a shot off the pace to finish two shots clear of the international field with a splendid round of 68 over the Old Course. He had scored 73 and 68 at the Eden and had started the final day, trailing Leonard Motta from Milan, overnight leader with scores of 69 and 71 over the Eden course.
Betty, who had finished 12th at the weekend in the Scottish Champion of Champions' 72-hole tournament at Leven Links, showed not the slightest sign of tiredness during his seventh competitive round of links golf in four days on the trot as he made five birdies and only one bogey over the Old Course.
Betty maintains the fine record of Stirling students in the R&A Bursars' tournament. The 2007, 2008 and now 2009 men's title-winners have all been from Stirling University.
Leonard Motta closed with a 71 - a good score over the Old Course at any time - but it left the door open for the challenging Betty ... and he seized the opportunity.
The Milan student's total of 211 gave him second place, two behind Betty and three ahead of third-placed Elmwood student, Scott Stewart-Cation who had rounds of 71 and 72 over the Eden course and a 71 at the Old Course.
Like Betty, Stewart-Cation played all four rounds of the Scottish Champion of Champions tournament on Saturday and Sunday, finishing 25th at Leven.
“The wind was quite strong today,” said Betty, now in his fourth year as an R&A Scholar. “On the way out it was helping, so I just tried to make the most of it on the par-5s and the shorter holes because I knew it would be tough coming back.
“The R&A’s money and support has made a big difference to me,” he added. “It’s really good to get invited to play in this, obviously, but it’s quite expensive to play amateur golf with all the travelling. The money’s really helpful in covering those costs and giving you the chance to play in events that you otherwise can’t play.”
Betty's victory, the best of his career so far, earns him automatic selection to the eight-man European team who will contest the Palmer Cup students' international match against the United States at Cherry Hills Country Club, Colorado later this year.
“It’s going to be brilliant. Gordon Yates and Scott Borrowman [winners of the Scholars Tournament in 2008 and 2009 respectively], with whom I play a lot of golf at Stirling, have played in the Palmer Cup match in the last two years and really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to it already!”
University of Birmingham student Sian James from Gloucester and a member of the Bristol & Clifton Golf Club, competing in the R&A Scholars Tournament for the first time, kept hold of her overnight lead to win the women’s title ahead of two French students, Laura Chemarin and Lucie Andre, both from Toulouse.
Sian's brilliant Monday second round of six-under-par 67 at the Eden course, stood her in good stead down the home straight as she came under increasing pressure from the two-pronged French challenge.
A final round of 77, which included an excellent up-and-down from behind the Road Hole bunker on the Old Course's 17th, was to prove vital in the final analysis. It helped the English student finish with a three-under-par, 54-hole total of 219.
Chemarin followed a pair of 73s on the Eden course with a 74 on the Old Course, finishing just one shot behind the winner.
“It was pretty tough; I was struggling a little bit off the tee so I knew I had to be level-par because I know that others would make birdies round this course,” said a delighted Sian James, whose victory has earned her a place in the the field at a Ladies European Tour event.
“I’m ecstatic about that. It was an ambition to win this week and try to get some Ladies European Tour experience, because that's where I want to be eventually. Now I’ve got the chance to try and compete with the European Tour ladies!”
Pamela Pretswell (Glasgow University) finished fourth on 224 with scores of 72 and 75 at the Eden and a closing 77 over the Old Course.
There were three Toulouse University players in the top five with Rosanna Crepiat, winner of the Portuguese women's open amateur title and beaten finalist in the Spanish women's open amateur, finishing fifth with a closing 74 for 225.
Defending champion Laura Murray (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen) from Alford came sixth on 228 after a closing round of 80 on the Old Course. Last week Laura won the Scottish women's universities title at Lossiemouth.