Lisburn’s Paula Grant (pictured with Gary Hurley) won the prestigeous R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament over The Eden and Old Course at St. Andrews, 8-9 April.
Leading the field by 7 strokes overnight, after two very impressive 68s, Paula’s lead was slashed to just one stroke after Kelsey MacDonald (Stirling) closed with a 71. Paula held on for the narrowest of victories with a 77 for 213.The 19 year-old from Lisburn was playing her first round on the Old Course and, although she could not match her two 68s over the Eden Course, she was delighted to hole a lengthy putt across the famous 18th green to seal the victory after a round of 77.
“This was my first time playing the Old Course and I was so nervous,” she said. “I hit a nice four iron on the 1st tee and that settled me down a bit. It has been incredible to play here and this is a great event. It is my first win overseas and I will definitely be looking forward to playing in this championship again.”
Eilidh Briggs (Stirling) finished third on 217 while Ireland’s Sinead Sexton added a second 78 to her 75 to finish joint 9th. The field of 56 competitors from throughout the UK and Ireland and countries such as Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and South Africa played two rounds over the Eden Course on Monday and one round on the Old Course on Tuesday.
Gary Hurley, on Paddy Harrington Golf Scholarship at NUIM, captured the men’s title and with Paula crowned the ladies’ champion, the feat of an “Irish double” was achieved for the very first time yesterday.
FINAL SCORES (Par 73) 213 Paula Grant (Ulster) 68 68 77 214 Kelsey MacDonald (Stirling) 69 74 71 217 Eilidh Briggs (Stirling) 73 73 71 221 Gemma Bradbury (St Andrews) 74 75 72 223 Vicki Troeltsch (Germany) 74 77 72 227 Melissa McMahon (Buckinghamshire New) 77 77 73, Gabrielle MacDonald (St Andrews) 78 75 74 230 Bronwyn Davies (Myerscough) 79 76 75 231 Sinead Sexton (NUI Maynooth) 78 75 78, Emma Newlove (Birmingham) 77 75 79 233 Ami Storey (Northumbria) 76 79 78 235 Katie Bradbury (Exeter) 82 78 75 240 Charlotte Austwick (York) 80 75 85, Lucie Hinnerova (Czech Rep) 83 76 81 249 Fererica Constantini (Italy) 85 80 84.