Friday, March 30, 2018

 Bojesen (St Andrews) tees off at the first.
Stirling tighten their grip on morning of Scottish Students' team final

The morning foursomes got underway on Moray Old at 08.00 this morning and reigning champions Stirling took little time to get warmed up, building early leads in the first three matches on the course.
Stirling’s lead pair of Jordan Sundborg and Michael Lawrie had a two-hole lead by the fourth tee and never looked back as they kept St Andrews’ Matt Myers and Tobias Hein at bay with some strong match-play golf. The match was eventually to conclude on the 15th green where two putts were enough for the men from Stirling.
Match two saw Stirling captain Colin Edgar and regular partner Mark Napier face off against Peter Kerr and Jack Rogan from St Andrews. Once again the green of Stirling was to dye the score board from the early stages – with Edgar/ Napier defending a narrow lead with tenacity throughout the first five holes. 
Saints were briefly level after a birdie at the sixth, but a lost ball at the following hole put them behind once again and they were never to quite recover thereafter.
Colin Edgar holed well from 20ft on the eighthand his team-mate followed suit on the 11th for a valuable half. Napier holed another crucial putt from similar distance on the 14th to put Stirling two up and well in the driving seat. They teed it up on the 17th dormie 2 up and a lost ball for Kerr ended the tie with a 3 and 1 victory for Stirling.
With Laird Shepherd coming into the foursomes line-up for the first time this week, the final two pairings for the defending champions had a fresh look about them. David Nagiev combined with left-hander Ross Nelson to tackle Bojesen/Kulukundis and Robert Foley joined Shepherd in the final match against Burns and Frean.
The third match saw Stirling take the initiative early on, winning the second and third holes before a birdie at the sixth put them three up. Nagiev and Nelson got to four holes ahead after the 11th and will have felt quite relaxed about things as they took to the last seven holes.
Perhaps spurred by the steepening odds, the St Andrews team provided a notable moment at the 12th when Bjorn Bojesen holed out from the heather with a sensational 4-iron from 195 yards for an eagle 2.
However, this gave only a brief moment of respite and the Nagiev and Nelson duo seemed untroubled, stretching back to four up at the following hole. The match was to play out evenly from there with Stirling recording a 4 and 3 victory.
The final match of the morning provided the most intrigue and one or two plot twists. St Andrews were grateful recipients of a win at the first hole, thanks to a rare false shot from Laird Shepherd, whose short second shot failed to clear the greenside bunker and found a spot from which Foley could only ‘chunk’ it out to the edge of the green.
George Burns and Liam Frean were briefly two up after the fifth hole and then again after seven holes but the Stirling duo showed their mettle by recovering to all square after 10.
 They then took the lead, thanks to a great up and down from right of the green at the 12th, with Foley holing from 12 feet after a very delicate Shepherd chip shot over the bunker from a bare lie.

Burns holed from 15 feet in the middle of a hailstorm on the 14th to make it all-square and when Foley missed from 4 feet at the 16th a point for the Saints looked likely.
However, a moment of sheer brilliance from stroke-play champion Laird Shepherd changed the complexion once again. With Foley’s drive having gone down the left side Shepherd was faced with 220 yards from the rough. He selected his trusty rescue club and sent a soaring draw up into the dull Moray skyline. It landed just over the front bunker and rolled into the cup for a sensational albatross!
Shepherd commented later: "As soon as I hit it I thought it was good and gave it a bit of verbal encouragement in the air – but I was amazed that it actually went in!
" I’ve never really holed out with anything longer than a wedge before."
This magical moment left the match finely poised at all square coming up the 18th and despite a fine approach from Foley it was halved in four and for the spoils to be shared.   

The afternoon singles began at 1pm on the Old Course, with St Andrews needing six points out of the eight matches to snatch an improbable win.



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