The end of Freshers’ Week saw a rare day for Saints Golf when, for the first time since the team’s inaugural match five years ago, the University of Stanford (native to California) team came from across the pond to play against some of our top players. The two teams’ match on the New Course was the third stop on Stanford’s 10-day tour of Scotland.
The tour included the iconic courses of Crail, Carnoustie, St Andrews, Kingsbarns (where Stanford played Oregon State University), Cruden Bay, the Trump International links, the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Nairn Golf Course, Castle Stuart Links and finally Royal Dornoch. Facing Stanford was a honour for the St Andrews golfers, as the California-based team is among the world’s best. Alumni include Tom Watson, winner of eight major championships including five Open Championships; former women’s world number one Michelle Wie; and perhaps one of the most iconic names in not just golfing but also sporting history, Tiger Woods.
The six fixtures were played on Saturday 10 September in glorious weather conditions, and excellent sportsmanship from both teams was displayed throughout the day. Stanford dominated proceedings, but St Andrews proved why it was our second-highest BUCS points earners last year and made every game a good contest. Chase McCarthy and Lewys Anderson lost one down to Henry Shimp and Dakota McNealy, whilst Marcell Horvath and David McClellan went down three and two to David Snyder and Brandon Wu. Cameron Franssen and Finlay Asher tasted the day’s only success, beating Chris Meyers and Isaiah Salinga. Stanford was returning to Scotland for the first time in five years and had a busy 10-day schedule. The other fixtures, involving St Andrews partners Gonzalo Leon and Matthew Myers (lost one down), Bjorn Bojesen and Peter Kern (lost four and three) and George Burns and Head Coach David Watt all saw St Andrews defeats. The latter of these were perhaps the most impressive, with Burns and Watt only seeing a two and one defeat against Stanford coach Conrad Ray and the world’s top ranked amateur, Maverick McNealy.
Saints Golf said it was a pleasure to host Stanford and that the competition provided was a real indicator of improvements that can be made. At the same time, the team said the visit showed the skill level of St Andrews’ own golfers. It also highlighted the truly special connections that the university and town have on both an academic and sporting level worldwide. The golf season for St Andrews will begin in earnest over the next several weeks as the team attempts to make the most of warm weather before winter sets in. Strong progress was made last year, and the team is expected to build on these prior achievements in the coming academic year.