David Booth (Left) and Jack McDonald (Right) after the third extra hole of the playoff.
Being hundreds of miles away from home did nothing to deter the University of Stirling men’s golf team as they dominated the final standings of the Yas Links Men’s Open in Abu Dhabi.
David Booth, the team’s captain, pipped Scotland Boys international Jack McDonald in a playoff to win the overall title. Scotland International Graeme Robertson came third and the team sports psychologist Dr John Mathers finished 4th.
Booth, a 23 year old from Rotherham studying an MSc in Sports Management, looked incredibly assured as he shot a final round one under par 71. He went on to edge out Ayrshire-man McDonald at the third extra hole in the play-off to emerge victorious from a field of more than 100 leading amateur players.
Mcdonald, studying a BSc in Applied Mathematics, had led by four shots at the halfway stage of the 36-hole competition, having coped exceptionally well with the windy conditions to card the only sub-par score going into the final 18 holes. However Booth, sitting four shots behind in second place, impressively eliminated the deficit and went on to sink a birdie putt at the third extra hole to clinch the Men’s Open title.
Robertson, who missed out on joining the play-offs by one shot, can console himself with a new amateur course record of 69.
Fourteen University players were amongst the field with Ollie Roberts (Hong Kong), Zander Culverwell (Edinburgh) and Patrick Spraggs (Suffolk) all putting in strong performances. It was a great end to a successful training camp based at the Al Ain Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The men’s team are part of the University’s International Sports Scholarship Programme and receive expert coaching from former European Tour Professional Dean Robertson.
He said: “David Booth is in his final semester of his postgraduate degree and has aspirations to become a European Tour player. He saved his best golf for the playoff and performed brilliantly. Jack [McDonald] has quickly emerged as one of the leading players on the University programme and I believe he has a bright future ahead.
“It was an excellent event and a great way to conclude our warm weather training camp, allowing the players to put the training into practice and perform under pressure. The facilities were tremendous at the Al Ain GC and the floodlit courses meant we were able to training for 12 hours a day as well as complete mental skills workshops and do strength and conditioning sessions.”
Jack McDonald and Graeme Robertson are also supported through a national sports scholarship from Winning Students, having been nominated by the Scottish Golf Union.