National golf championship success for Saints
Saints Golf, the University of St Andrews student golf first team, were crowned champions in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) National Final this week (Wednesday 27 April).
The performance golf team beat off stiff competition from the University of Stirling to bring the BUCS Match Play Team Golf Championship cup back to the Home of Golf for the first time since 2017.
Following a 9:3 semi-final win over the University of Highlands and Islands earlier in the championship (Tuesday 26 April), and a win for the University of Stirling over Exeter University in the other side of the draw, the rivals teed off for the 36-hole championship final.
The final consisted of four matches of morning foursomes, followed by eight singles encounters in the afternoon. A 1up victory for Otto Voettiner/Megan Ashley and a halved match from Andrew Whitford/Connor Rochon kept St Andrews in the game, but with Ben Fuller/Lucy Jamieson and Adam Charlton/Roddy McAuley coming up short against strong Stirling pairings, St Andrews trailed 1.5:2.5 going into the afternoon singles.
The afternoon matches saw excellent wins for team Captain Connor Rochon, Adam Charlton, Lucy Jamieson, who recently won on the final event of the R&A Student Tour Series 2022, and St Leonards College Masters Scholar and 2022 Scottish Student Sport strokeplay champion, Ben Fuller; and a vital half for St Leonards College Masters Scholar, Otto Voettiner.
The finals, played at Woodhall Spa National Golf Centre in Lincolnshire, also the home of England Golf, went down to the last hole of the last match, with Roddy McAuley securing a win on the 18th green. This sealed a 7-5 victory for the St Andrews performance golf scholars and a first national championship title in five years.
Team Captain Connor Rochon said: “It is an honour to captain such an incredible group of people. We set out to win the National Championship back in August, and we worked diligently all season to achieve it. I am so proud of us for coming together as a team and being clutch when it mattered most.
“Being National Champions is something we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
Saints Sport at the University of St Andrews aims to provide a comprehensive and world-class supported programme for its performance golfers through golf scholarships, which provide all the resources needed for players to take their games to the next level whilst studying at St Andrews. The scholarships are supported and funded through the 600 Club, a community of donors and supporters around the world, alongside Saints Sport, the R&A and the St Andrews Links Trust.
600 Club performance golf scholars represent the University in tournament golf around the world, competing domestically within the BUCS calendar and across Europe as part of the R&A Elite Student Tour. Additional competitive opportunities include invites to high-level tournaments in North and South America.
Ian Gaunt, Deputy Director (Head of Performance Sport) at the University of St Andrews, said: “The team, and indeed the entire Golf Club, have been brilliant all year, and this has finished the year off perfectly.
“We knew we’d have to play to our potential to beat a very competitive Stirling side and that’s exactly what we did. Being crowned national BUCS team match play champions once again is a great feeling and the University is very proud of the squad, as talented academic golfers and, more importantly, as people.
“We have exciting plans for student golf at St Andrews, including appointing our own full-time Director of Golf for the very first time. We’re determined to build on this success in the coming years. Thank you to colleagues and all our supporters who have helped to bring this success.”
Photo caption (top): National championship winning Saints Golf performance scholars (from left) Otto Voettiner, Lucy Jamieson, Megan Ashley, Ben Fuller, Connor Rochon, Adam Charlton, Andy Whitford, Roddy McAuley and Josie Baker
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, a membership organisation, and a company limited by guarantee with charitable status.
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.