University of Stirling golfers have made a fine start to the student season as they won a clean sweep of titles at the Stirling International tournament at the Fairmont St Andrews.
In the University’s home tournament, Laird Shepherd and Hazel MacGarvie won the respective male and female individual titles while they were also part of the victorious men’s and women’s teams alongside Robert Foley, Jordan Sundborg, Jack Broun, Chloe Goadby and Nicola Slater.
The event is part of the inaugural R&A Student Series and, as the first BUCS tournament of the year, served up several twists and turns alongside some quality golf.
In the women’s event, Hazel MacGarvie’s decision to take some time off tournaments paid off as she built momentum over the week before stealing victory with a stunning eagle on the 18th of the Fairmont’s Torrance course. The impressive display of fortitude helped the Sports Business Management student finish one shot clear of joint runners-up Lorna McClymont (SRUC) and Stirling teammate, Chloe Goadby.
The victory follows on the heels of a fine win at the St Rule Trophy for the Troon-native as well as a strong debut performance at the Vagliano Trophy in Kent.
Commenting on her week, MacGarvie said: “It went really well as I came into this week not having played a competition for a month. I took some time off to practise and get things better, so I was a wee bit rusty in the first round but as each day progressed I felt my game got better.
“Especially today, with the weather and pin positions, I just stayed patient, made sure I was going for the middle of the greens and taking the putts when I could. So it was a good week and I’m glad I managed to close it out in the end.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s draw, Laird Shepherd made the best possible return to student golf, having missed six months with a knee injury, as he came from four shots back to win his own individual title.
Despite beginning with a remarkable five-under par opening round, Shepherd found himself four shots behind Stirling teammate, Robert Foley, with only six holes to play in the tournament. However, thanks to a mix of fortune, belligerence and outright class – a highlight being a majestic 200+ yard approach to the last – the fourth-year student completed a thrilling comeback to win by two shots from Foley.
Speaking of his victory, an elated, and exhausted, Shepherd said: “It’s great to be back playing first of all – my first event was only two weeks ago – so it’s nice to be back out on the course. I played really nice on the first day to get it going and from there on in, it was a bit of a grind to be honest.
“But it was a good battle out there with Robert and having been four back with six to play I wasn’t hoping for too much but managed to pull something out at the end to get it done. I’m just really happy to be back playing and winning this has been a bonus.”
The R&A Student Series now moves on to Ireland, where players will compete at Carton House in County Kildare. The tournament will be hosted by the University of Maynooth. More details about the R&A Student Series can be found on the R&A website.
A selection of images from the Stirling International can be viewed in our online gallery.
Find out more about the University of Stirling’s high performance golf programme.