For any golfer a trip to St Andrews, ‘the home of golf’, is a special experience, and this was particularly the case for the three pupils, Harrison Ottley-Woodd (5th, L), Parth Patel (L6, H) and Intouch Ruckpanich (L6, L), representing College at the Independent Schools’ Golf Association National Finals. Having progressed through the regional qualifiers by beating Malvern College, Bromsgrove and St Edwards, Cheltenham, the boys headed north to compete in the finals against 20 other schools from across the UK. The tournament, held over two days, was a stroke play competition with the best two scores each day counting.
On the first morning’s play, relatively benign conditions met the boys at the Fairmont Hotel’s Torrance course. Harrison took full advantage of the conditions to shoot an incredibly impressive 71 (-1), including a near miss for eagle on the 18th hole. At the end of the day’s play, the team was 8th overall with Harrison holding 3rd place on the individual leader board. In the evening, the students and staff enjoyed a buffet dinner after which each team was presented with their trophy for winning their respective regional heats.
The following morning, the short journey was made to the Eden course in the centre of the iconic links complex in St Andrews (the Eden course weaves alongside the world famous Old Course). Conditions were far from ideal and 40-50mph gusts off the North Sea were always going to provide a stern golfing test. A measure of the severity of the conditions was Intouch’s 370-yard downwind drive on the 9th hole!
At the conclusion of the tournament, the boys were placed in 12th position nationally, a wonderful achievement and a reflection of the strength of golf at College. The boys were great ambassadors and even seemed to enjoy the seven-hour drive home!