ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND – With the sun trying to peak through the clouds and the wind blowing, Tuesday’s second round at the Jubilee Course proved to be a tougher test. Kayla Smith of North Carolina battled the elements to outlast Vanderbilt’s Ava Merrill by 2 shots, finishing at 2 under par for the championship. On the men’s side, Vanderbilt’s Jackson Van Paris backed up his opening round 64 with a final round of 67, finishing 3 strokes ahead of his teammate, Cole Sherwood.
Smith started the day strong with birdies at holes 3 and 4. A double-bogey at the par-5 6th and an eagle by Merrill brought scores to within one. It was Smith down the back nine who made the least number of bogeys to secure her victory at the inaugural St Andrews Links Collegiate. “I feel incredible. I’m stoked. It’s awesome,” Smith said on her historic win, smiling as she later congratulated her team, stating, “I’m obviously so proud of the team. To have the chance at the championship (tomorrow) is awesome.”
Not only did the North Carolina women’s team claim the individual title, Ing Iadpluem, shot a 4-under par 68 to set the ladies Jubilee course record today. The previous course record for the ladies was 69. “I just feel amazing. I didn’t know that until a little while ago. It’s good to put my name on the clubhouse board,” Iadpluem said of setting the new course record. The number-one seeded North Carolina Tar Heels women’s team will take on the number-two Vanderbilt Commodores in tomorrow’s medal match play final.
Jackson Van Paris started the day with the lead and never looked back. The putter remained hot for Van Paris, sinking five birdies on the day, including the long 497-yard par-4 11th hole. “It wasn’t as easy today as it was yesterday. The golf felt a little more difficult. I was lucky to still make some putts and I had a few good breaks here and there and that’s what you need to win,’” Van Paris said. The junior from Pinehurst, N.C., has never played on television before; picking up his first collegiate win live on television across the world is an added bonus. “He played great. He’s really a kid who really knows how to keep his ball low to the ground, has an unbelievable short game and has a great imagination. I thought when we got to this golf course, and I said to my assistant coach, I really like Jackson this week, so I’m just super pumped for him,” Coach Scott Limbaugh said of Jackson’s win. The number-one-seeded Vanderbilt men’s team will take on number-two North Carolina in tomorrow’s final. “North Carolina is a great team, and we know it’ll take a great effort tomorrow… I know our boys will be excited,” Limbaugh said.
The Hoyas women’s team finished in third place and the men in fourth. Although neither leaderboard favored Georgetown, both sides had their fair share of good play. For the women, Jasmine Lai finished T-6 with a total score of 5 over par. On the men’s side, Conner Willett posted 4 under par for the tournament and finished today’s round at even par, leaving him in a T-4. With all eyes on the Old Course for tomorrow’s final round, players and coaches are excited. “It’s going to be cool to be playing in a match play event. We haven’t played one yet as a team. All of us have a lot of good match play experience, and especially on the Old Course, it’s going to be fun,” Willett said, looking forward to tomorrow’s final.
The Notre Dame men had a great showing in the first two rounds, with a team score of 9 under par. Angelo Marcon had the low round of the day, posting a 6-under 64 to catapult him up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for third. For the women, Chloe Schiavone and Lauren Beaudreau played great throughout the first two days of the tournament and both finished inside the top 10. Finishing just 4 shots off the lead and in third alone, Schiavone had a great time, even if it didn’t mean holding the individual trophy. “It’s so cool (to play golf on TV). It’s my first event on the Golf Channel in my four years at Notre Dame. I really enjoyed having the cameras on me… I know a lot of my family and friends at home were watching,” Schiavone said.
Wednesday’s final round will be played as medal match play. The match play seeds are determined by Monday and Tuesday’s combined scores. The third round of the 2023 St Andrew Links Collegiate will lead off with the consolation match between the 3rd and 4th seeds, teeing off alternately between the women and men at 8:45 a.m. BST and the championship match featuring number 1st and 2nd seeds, at 10:45 a.m. at the Old Course.
Women’s Seeds: 1) North Carolina, 2) Vanderbilt, 3) Georgetown, 4) Notre Dame
Men’s Seeds: 1) Vanderbilt, 2) North Carolina, 3) Notre Dame, 4) Georgetown
About St Andrews Links Trust
St Andrews Links Trust is responsible for the management and maintenance of the seven Links courses at St Andrews, including the world-famous Old Course, host of The Open Championship a record 30 times.
St Andrews Links Trust manages a number of additional facilities including three clubhouses, a golf academy and five shops. More than 250,000 rounds are played over the seven courses attracting visitors from around the world to follow in the footsteps of the world’s greatest golfers and become a part of golf’s rich history.
About HNS Sports Group
HNS Sports Group is well-positioned to assist companies that find value in the golf industry and build and execute comprehensive golf branding or sponsorship strategies. Effectively understanding the golf marketplace today is a significant challenge, the HNS Sports Group team possesses over 125 years of collective experience that is applied to lead companies in their efforts to maximize value from golf sponsorship and event participation.
ABOUT NBC SPORTS’ COLLEGE GOLF PLATFORM
GOLF Channel is the U.S. television home for college golf, currently providing live coverage of ten college golf championships. GOLF Channel deploys its comprehensive portfolio of news, digital and social media coverage year-round in covering collegiate golf, including season preview shows, signing day specials, regional and national qualifying coverage and exclusive annual coverage for the Haskins and ANNIKA Awards Presented by Stifel.
Following its announcement in 2013 as the exclusive television provider of the NCAA Golf Championships, GOLF Channel has provided live coverage of the men’s NCAA Championships since 2014 and the women’s NCAA Championships since 2015, which are hosted at the same venue in consecutive weeks at Omni La Costa in Carlsbad, Calif. GOLF Channel also annually televises the three-day East Lake Cup at historic East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. (Atlanta Athletic Club in 2023); the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C.; Western Intercollegiate, one of the longest-running college tournaments in the U.S. taking place at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.; the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship; the Blessings Collegiate Invitational presented by Tyson Foods in Fayetteville, Ark.; the Jackson T. Stephens Cup; the Southwest Airlines Showcase at Cedar Crest at Cedar Crest in Dallas, Texas and the inaugural St Andrews Links Collegiate, which is held at the historic Jubilee and Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland.