Darcey Harry made up for the disappointment of losing in a playoff 12 months ago by winning The R&A Student Tour Series – Spain. Ryan Griffin picked up his second victory by taking the men’s title in a playoff.
Royal Agricultural University student Harry made the best clutch par of her young life on Parador de Malaga Golf Club’s 18th hole to deny home favourite Esperanzo Serrano by a shot. Griffin bettered Maynooth University teammate Alan Fahy at the first hole of a sudden death playoff.
Clutch par save
Nineteen-year-old Harry lost in a playoff to Lorna McClymont at Infinitum Golf a year ago. The overnight leader looked set to finish runner up again when she stood over her second shot on Parador’s final hole tied for the lead. With Universidad de Malaga student Serrano standing in the middle of the fairway, Harry’s ball sat under a tree leaving her with a restricted backswing.
All the Royal Porthcawl member could do was chip her ball back into play and hope to make par to force a playoff. She took care of the par by hitting her 50 degree wedge from 61 yards to 12 feet and holing the putt. She landed the title when Serrano’s approach shot flew the green and she failed to get up and down. Harry took the title by a shot with a four-over 220 total (76, 69 and 75).
Harry has holed a lot of great putts in her young life, but the 12-footer to win will remain long in her memory.
“Definitely,” she replied when asked if it was the best clutch putt of her life. “It was a great putt. I think I’ll always look back on this one.”
“It feels really, really good because last year I lost in a playoff. It’s nice to come back and win, and nice to have a win so early on in the season which will hopefully gear me up for the year ahead.”
Excited to head to the Home of Golf
The Welsh player earns 100 points for the victory to shoot up the Order of Merit to fifth spot, 140 points behind leader Lorna McClymont. With points in the Final at St Andrews worth one and a half times more than each of the previous four events, it means Harry has a chance to finish the year on a high.
“I’m really, really excited. I absolutely love St Andrews. Obviously it’s the Home of Golf and it will be so lovely to be able to go and compete there.”
Griffin makes up eight shot deficit
Griffin started the day eight shots behind Fahy, but got into contention by returning a six-under 66 that included eagles at the first and 14th holes. A birdie at the last got him in the clubhouse on seven-under 209, and he and Fahy headed for extra holes when Fahy returned a closing two-over 74.
“When I was doing the pins this morning I said to myself if I can post seven-under I’d be in with a good chance because it’s breezy and it’s not an easy track, so delighted to do that and put the work together,” Griffin said.
Both players missed the green on the opening playoff hole, the par-five first, but Griffin chipped to six inches for a guaranteed birdie while Fahy made five. Griffin admitted his closing 66 was one of the best rounds of his life.
“It’s up there definitely. It’s nice to get the win out of it, so it will be near the top.”
Iberian Peninsula specialist
The 22-year psychology student was joint winner with Maynooth teammate Jordan Boles of last year’s Student Tour Series – Portugal, so there’s obviously something about the Iberian Peninsula that brings out the best in him.
“It’s a nice change from back home and you have to tell yourself that when things aren’t going so well that you’re lucky to be out here and the sun’s shining.”
Moves to third on Order of Merit
Griffin has put himself in a great position to finish number one on the Order of Merit with a good performance in St Andrews. He will start the Final, third on the table with 263 points, 17 points behind teammate Aaron Marshal who finished joint third with Northumbria University student Jack Leversidge.
“I needed to do something this week to get myself back in the mix because I was a few points off and this will really shoot me up there,” Griffin said.
Stirling student George Cannon, winner of the opening event of the 2022/23 Student Tour Series at Montrose, heads the table on 293 points.