Friday, March 31, 2017

Seven Scottish titles in a row by Stirling 1 team

          We are the champions ... again!  Stirling University 1 team with the trophy

The University of Stirling men’s 1st team continued their domination of the Scottish Student Golf Championships Team Matchplay competition, winning the Charles McNeill Trophy for the 7th time in a row, by beating the Stirling No 2 team 7-5 - but only after being given a real scare by their second team over the Old Course at Moray Golf Club, Lossiemouth today.
The foursomes went to Stirling 1 by a 3-1 margin but the eight afternoon singles were shared 4-4.
The morning foursomes were a series of dominant performances as only one match went past the 15th green. Jordan Sundborg and Laird Shepherd (over Jamie Parker and Ben Plaxton) and James Wilson and Robert Foley (over Mark Napier and Matt Fitzsimmons) bookended the morning with 5 and 4 victories while Chris Maclean and Andrew Davidson were almost as dominant in their 4 and 3 victory over Valerian Huelin and Ellis Hart.
The one bright spark for the Stirling No 2 team in the foursomes was  Colin Edgar and David Nagies holding off a fierce comeback from Fergus Bannon and Will Walker, securing a 2 and 1 victory on the 17th green.
A 3-1 deficit left the Stirling 2 team with it all to do as the eight afternoon singles teed on in deteriorating conditions. That task looked even harder at the turn as Stirling 1 players  reached the turn leading in five matches, all square in two and only down in the second match.
However, Colin Edgar typified the performance of the second team as he reeled off five winning  holes in a row from the 10th, turning a one hole deficit into a 3 and 2 victory over Chris Maclean.
That was part of a middle-order renaissance for the No 2 team which, after Jordan Sundborg completed an impressive undefeated tournament with a 6 and 5 victory over Jack Forgan, saw the Stirlinig 2 reel off 4 points in a row – Edgar’s victory preceded by 18th hole victories for Ben Plaxton over Robert Foley and David Nagies over Fergus Bannon, followed by Jamie Parker beating Will Walker 2 and 1.
In between those matches James Wilson had beaten Ellis Hart 5 and 4, leaving the match tied overall at five points apiece with two matches left on the course.
Match 6 was Andrew Davidson against Mark Napier and it had been nip and tuck throughout the contest, the players turning for home all square. Andrew Davidson turned up the pressure to take a three hole advantage to the 15th hole but back-to-back wins for Napier left Davidson hanging on one up on the 17th tee.
Meanwhile, in the final match, Laird Shepherd had enjoyed a similar 3 hole advantage over Matt Fitzsimons but, after pulling one hole back on the 14th, a wonderful approach from the second team scholarship player to the par 3 15th saw the lead cut to one with three to play.
When Shepherd could only find the heavy rough to the left of 16, the concern was clear to see on first team faces. However, a fantastic recovery put the pressure back on Fitzsimmons whose missed putt guaranteed a half with two holes to play.
With Davidson and Napier halving the 17th in par, that left the first team with a guaranteed play-off and the chance to secure the victory from either of the final matches.
In the end it was Laird Shepherd (stroke-play title-winner earlier in the week) who won the match for the first team when, having missed his birdie putt, Fitzsimmons conceded the match.
Davidson secured his full point on the 18th green, giving the Stirling first team an 7-5 overall victory and retention of the Charles McNeill Trophy.
With the end of the match-play tournament, the sun has set on the 95th Scottish Student Golf Championships after a fantastic week of stroke-play and match-play competition. Thanks go to Moray GC for their incredible hospitality, to our officials and volunteers, and to the players for putting on a great show, highlighting the incredible level of student golf in Scotland.
Bring on 2018 when Laird Shepherd will be aiming to become only the 2nd player in history to retain the title and Gemma Batty will look to make history and complete the 4-peat.



Foursomes: 3-1
J Wilson, R Foley bt M Napier, M Fitzsimons 5 and 4.
F Bannon, W Walker lost to C Edgar, D Nagies 2 and 1.
C Maclean, A Davidson bt V Huelin, E Hart 4 and 3.
J Sundborg, L Shepherd bt J Parker, B Plaxton 5 and 4.

Singles: 4-4
Sundborg bt J Forgan 6 and 5.
Foley lost to Plaxton 2 holes.
Bannon lost to Nagies 1 hole.
Maclean lost to Edgar 3 and 2.
Walker lost to Parker 2 and 1.
Davidson bt Napier 1 hole.
Wilson bt Hart 5 and 4.
Shepherd bt Fitzsimmons 2 and 1.




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