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Caption: Sinead Sexton (Lahinch/Stirling) wins the Scottish Students Matchplay Championship at Moray Golf Club
2017 ILGU Funded Performance Panellist Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) has been making waves in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) events since joining Stirling University in 2015, however with a 2nd and 1st finish in her last two events and a win earlier in the month at the University of Exeter Invitational she is certainly one to watch for the season ahead.
A week to remember for Stirling University, which included an all Stirling men's final, was capped by Sexton winning the Scottish student women's match-play title over the Old Course at Moray Golf Club, Lossiemouth last week.
Taking on the New Course in the morning, the semi-finals saw two very close encounters with Jen Saxton (Stirling) pushing number one seed Gemma Batty all the way before finally Batty came out on top on the 18th.
In the other semi-final, St Andrews first year student Fern Clark got off to a flying start against the second seeded Sexton, at one stage enjoying a three hole advantage. However, Sinead worked herself back into the match and was able to secure victory on the 17th, by a 3 and 1 margin
The final, therefore, saw the top two finishers from the stroke play competition go head to head with Sexton determined to take home a trophy after being pipped to the Scottish Universities Stroke Play title earlier in the week to Batty.
While Batty took an early lead, she was never able to gain a substantial advantage, a two hole lead on the 5th vanishing after two Sexton birdies on the 6th and 7th. The match was to and fro from there on in, with Sexton managing to get her nose ahead and take a one hole lead up the final hole. When Gemma was unable to get up and down, having missed the green to the right on her approach, Sexton was able to roll the ball up to the hole and secure a two-hole victory.
Sexton, who completed her undergraduate degree in Maynooth University before heading to Scotland for her Masters in Sport Management, is one of a number of Irish competing at the R&A Scholars Tournament from April 3 – 4. Contested over 54 holes at the Eden and Old Courses, the two-day tournament offers the leading men's player a place on the European Arnold Palmer Cup team to face the USA, with the leading women's player receiving a starting place at a Ladies European Tour event.
Each year, The R&A invests more than £300,000 in student and university golf. Currently, The R&A supports golf programmes at 15 universities and awards over 120 individual Foundation scholarships to players from all over the world.
Last year's R&A Scholars women's champion Chloe Ryan (UCD/Castletroy) returns this year and will begin the defence of her title on the Eden Course grouped with Christopher Johnston and Jack McDonnell.
Ryan, posted a final round 72 to win by two shots from Jessica Ross (QUB/Donaghadee) in 2016. As a result of her memorable victory, Ryan played in her first professional tournament on the Ladies European Tour, travelling to Germany to compete in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters in September.
As well as winning the Irish Intervarsity Championship in October, the 23-year-old represented The R&A at the Argentine Women's Open in Buenos Aires alongside fellow scholar Gemma Batty.
R&A Scholars Tournament Information can be found HERE
R&A Scholars Tournament Scoring HERE