Thursday, March 28, 2019

Mirren Fraser wins Scottish students' women's titles at Lossie: Men's team final will be all-Stirling contest
 
 
All four semi-finalists in the Scottish women students' match-play championships  over Moray Golf Club's links at Lossiemouth were from Stirling University but form did not quite work out as expected.
Mirren Fraser, who is a member of Powfoot Golf Club, beat the favourite, Chloe Goadby, winner of the stroke-play title earlier in the week, at the 19th in the round of the last four and then was crowned champion by finishing two up on Nicola Slater in the final.
Slater had beaten Emily Laws 2 and 1 in the morning.
The men's team championship final will be contested by Stirling 1 and Stirling II teams.,
Stirling 1, who took the afternoon singles 7.5-0.5, beat Strathclyde comfortably, 10.5-1.5, in the first semi-final and in the other, Stirling II KOd UHI 8-4 after the morning foursomes where shared 2-2
 
BEN PHILIP REPORTS
 
Men’s Team Matchplay – Semi Final Stage
 
The four top student teams continued their bids for the coveted Charles McNeill Trophy on semi-final day at Moray GC today.
 
Top seeds Stirling I sought to capitalise on their extra day’s rest when they faced off against a Strathclyde side that showed a real flair for match-play in defeating Stirling III in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, Stirling II prepared to face ‘local’ favourites UHI in what promised to be a tantalising encounter.
 
The Strathclyde lads set out at a healthy pace with the aim of building a morning lead over the four foursomes matches. Three of the matches ‘turned maroon’ in the opening holes, and with the exception of match three it was nip and tuck well into the back nine.

Stirling’s lead pair of Edgar and Napier had to rely on good up-and-downs on three consecutive holes from the 10th to get ahead and they had to trade birdies on the way in to come out on top by a margin of 2 holes.
 
Lawrie and De Wouters timed things well and saved their best golf for the last six holes, accelerating from a position of one down through 12 to turn things in their favour and finish with a two-hole victory.
 
Strathclyde rallied in match three, with Martin Friel and Rory Asher who got ahead early on and never looked back, compiling a resounding 7&5 victory over Oliver Bailey and Jordan Sundborg.
 
In the final match of the morning, Alasdair McDougall and Harvey Talarczyk made a positive late run to eventually overcome the stiff resistance of Greg Andrews and Jack Williams by 3 and 1.
 
Further back on the course a mixed morning match was developing between UHI and Stirling II, with the overall score providing a sense of balance that was sometimes missing from each foursomes tie.
 
Scott Macpherson and Matt Bell got ahead early against Kieran McCormick and Michael Schinkel and never really looked back, eventually winning by two holes but without ever really looking in too much trouble.
 
Meanwhile it was quite the opposite picture in match two, with Euan Ferguson & John Oster racing away to a commanding position after six holes and maintaining a dominant position to ultimately defeat Matthew Fitzsimons & James Kempster by 5 and 4.
 
It was similarly emphatic for Riccardo Cellerino and Lewis Johnson who comfortably took care of Daniel Morris and Ashley Bendall by 6 and 5, but when Lewis Black and Shasa Decker ground out a close victory over Alistair MacNaughton and Graham Minton it left things very finely poised at lunchtime.
 
Lunchtime scores:
Stirling I                3              1              Strathclyde
UHI                        2              2              Stirling II             
 
The afternoon singles matches got underway in bright but gusty conditions over the fairways of the New course – and from an early stage a familiar pattern of Stirling dominance started to appear.
 
Reigning champions Stirling I clearly felt that only their best golf would do and set about painting the scoreboard green with a sense of genuine purpose.
 
Robert Foley led the charge very capably and would ultimately triumph over Allan Woodhouse by 3 and 1.
 
Jean De Wouters held his nerve to prevail over the ever-competitive Martin Friel, winning on the 18th green by the closest of margins.
 
The overall result was secured when Michael Lawrie powered to a really impressive 6 and 5 win over Jack Williams in match 4.
 
The third match was perhaps the pick of the ties, with Captain Colin Edgar needing to hang tough in order to share the spoils with Nairn native Rory Asher.
 
Oliver Bailey, Alasdair McDougall, Mark Napier and Jordan Sundborg added their own points to the growing tally and combined to seal an emphatic win for the champions with a final score of 10.5 to 1.5.
 
In the second semi-final the UHI team struggled to build any momentum in the afternoon and will have felt that things just weren’t quite going their way.
 
Kieran McCormick struggled to find his stride against Matthew Bell and the Stirling player maintained a relentless pace throughout the match, coming out on top by 8 and 7 in what will have given his team-mates a real boost.
 
Matches two and three were never more than a hole or two in anyone’s favour and indeed they would each end in a half, with Schinkel and Macpherson swapping blows all the way round, and Towers and Black unable to outdo one another.
 
There was a second wave of green on the board though, when first Kempster, then Bendall, Morris and Decker each all weighed in with a treasured point.
 
Riccardo Cellerino showed great spirit and pride to add some UHI punctuation to the end of the story, playing some fine stuff on the way to a two hole win over Matt Fitzsimons.
 
Final Scores:
Stirling I                10.5        1.5          Strathclyde
UHI                        4              8              Stirling II             
 
All of that results in an all-Stirling final tomorrow as the 1s will take on the 2s from 0800. For full line-ups and live score updates please visit GolfBox
 
 
Women’s Individual Matchplay
 
Semi Final Stage
 
After a very competitive quarter final stage the semi-final line-up had plenty of quality for what it lacked in diversity – with four of the leading players from Stirling University populating an intriguing draw.
 
Strokeplay champion Chloe Goadby took to the first tee with dreams of a memorable double but would first have to contend with team-mate Mirren Fraser, whose form was hitting a crescendo just at the right time.
 
A very tight match ensued, with rarely more than a hole between the two players – Fraser responding very well to her underdog tag and trading shot for shot with the always impressive Goadby.
 
Indeed it would take more than 18 holes to separate the two friends, and with lunchtime shortening by the minute they set off back up the 1st hole in the stiff breeze.
 
With both players a long way back for their second shots the approaches both narrowly failed to hit the putting surface. Goadby was first to tackle her chip shot and from the right hand side of the green she uncharacteristically failed to make a clean contact and left her shot on the apron of the green.
 
This momentary blip meant that an up and down for Fraser from just off the front left of the green would be enough for a famous victory. Mirren held her nerve and made a neat and tidy four to seal the match.
 
She would later go on to face clubmate Nicola Slater, who would need all of her resolve to outlast Emily Laws. Laws, who is rightly seen as something of a matchplay specialist, provided gritty opposition and never gave Slater a moment’s peace over the course of the round – keeping things very close throughout before finally succumbing by a score of 2 and 1.
 
Semi Final Results
Mirren Fraser                    bt            Chloe Goadby                    19th Hole
Nicola Slater                       bt            Emily Laws                          2&1
 
After a light lunch the two finalists convened at the first tee of Moray Old to play their last round of a busy week. Indeed Fraser, who unlike Slater had made the cut in the strokeplay earlier this week, would go on to have accumulated 148 holes of competitive golf in five action-packed days!
 
There was perhaps the occasional sign of fatigue during what was an entertaining but not too low scoring final – although the difficulty rating was enhanced by blustery winds and some very challenging pin positions.
 
Mirren Fraser started brightly and she went to 2up when she played a tidy approach chip and holed the putt for birdie four at the 3rd.
 
She was briefly three up after the 5th and again after the 7th, but Nicola made a nice birdie four at the 8th hole… A boomed drive down the middle of the fairway allowed her to have a go in two and a fine second shot allowed her to two putt from 35 feet to get back to within two.
 
It stayed that way until Mirren had a few difficulties at the 11th, and when her concentration faltered again at the 12th the match was all square.
 
It was then Nicola’s turn to hit a sticky spot. She couldn’t quite manage to get up and down from the front of the 13th and, after halving the 14th with an excellent birdie, she three putted the 15th to fall to 2 down.
 
She never gave up however and pars at 16 and 17 were sufficient to bring the match up the iconic last hole, in front of a healthy gathering of her peers.
 
Both players hit fine tee shots up the middle of the fairway, leaving only short irons in to a tricky back-left pin.
 
The two approach shots were well struck and on target, but just failed to grab on the late afternoon green and resulted in long putts from behind the hole.
 
With both leaving their approach putts a handful of feet short, Nicola needed to hole her second putt to make Mirren hole out for the win, but as her ball slid past the hole she graciously conceded, giving Mirren Fraser a 2-hole victory and her maiden Scottish students' title.
 
This was a popular and well-deserved win for Fraser, who showed great staying power and a fine repertoire of skills to prevail at the end of a marathon week.
 
She can now turn her thoughts, along with a number of other leading Scottish players, to the BUCS Tour Finals at Lundin GC from 15-17 April. You will be able to follow all the action via www.bucs.org.uk
 

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