Golf Scholars Laurie Potter, Chris Johnston, Nick Wildman and Katie Bradbury took part in the R&A Scholars' Tournament at St Andrews.

University golfers play R&A Scholars Tournament

First team captain Laurie Potter reports.

On the 8 and9 April University of Exeter Golf Scholars Laurie Potter, Chris Johnston, Nick Wildman and Katie Bradbury made the long trip north to St. Andrews in Fife to compete in the R&A Scholars’ Tournament. The field of 60 competitors was comprised of top university golfers from throughout Great Britain, Europe and South Africa. Players competed over 54 holes; two rounds taking place on the Eden Course followed by one final round on the Open Championship Old Course.

Exeter got off to a fast start on Monday morning with Nick Wildman and Chris Johnston both shooting a very respectable score of 72 in cold and blustery conditions. This was then bettered by captain Laurie Potter who brought in a score of 70, moving him into fourth place after the first round.

The afternoon round brought even stronger winds and after his solid start in the morning Wildman battled hard but could only turn out a 76 leaving him in 17th. Johnston, playing for the first time at St. Andrews, seemed to be relishing the challenge and finished strongly with a respectable 74 placing him 11th. Potter also finished on 74, an impressive total of 144 positioning him in seventh place going into the final round.

Bradbury, playing in the ladies event, struggled in the tough conditions and, with a few missed putts posted, a two round score of 160. However, with her long game not too far away she remained positive going into the final round of the Old Course.

A new day came and with it followed uninterrupted sunshine. The stage was set for the University of Exeter golfers as they faced one of the most famous courses in the world. Bradbury, who led the way for Exeter, saw the return of her putter to card a 75, a score then matched by Johnston who hit the ball brilliantly to win himself a 17th finish on his debut.

Wildman also in his first year of playing the event then posted a 76 (+4) securing a top 25 finish before first team Captain Potter used his past experience to card a level par of 72. Although not enough to catch the leaders (five shots behind on 216) a seventh place finish for third year was an excellent achievement.

It was a challenging event but the whole team were thrilled to be part of such a high level tournament, Potter commented: “It’s a fantastic event, with players coming from across Europe and beyond to compete over the famous St. Andrews links. To walk away with a top 10 finish is really nice and will certainly give me some confidence going into the next few weeks”.

The tournament was won by Irish International Gary Hurley who defeated Stirling golfer Craig Howie in a sudden death playoff.

The University of Exeter team will now travel to Crail in Scotland for the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Individual Stroke play finals on the 23, 24and 25 April. The event will see them battle it out to alongside the best university golfers from the UK and Ireland for the crown of the British Universities Individual Champion 2013. Following this the University of Exeter first team will travel north once again to Lancashire for the BUCS Team Knockout Final on the 1 May.

Date: 12 April 2013

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