Jack McDonald storms to nine-shot success in Battle Trophy at Crail
The Schloss Roxburghe player had been left trailing in Matthew Wilson’s wake as the Forres player landed a seven-shot success at the Fife venue 12 months ago.
But, producing an equally-impressive effort, McDonald stormed to a nine-shot victory on his return to the Craighead Links.
In the toughest of the conditions over the weekend, he opened with a 73 on Saturday before adding a 74 as the wind dropped as the day wore on.
He held a one-shot lead overnight but stretched that to seven shots following a third-round 69 before a closing 70 saw him finish nine shots clear of the field with a 286 total.
McDonald adds his name to a roll of honour that includes current DP World Tour card holders Grant Forrest and Connor Syme after they won the event in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Hayston’s Matthew Allen recovered from an opening 80 to finish second, closing with rounds of 67-71, with Englishman Jack Brooks a shot further back in third place.
“There are few courses that can provide such great playing conditions this early in the season,” said McDonald. “Last year the wind was out of the west, so to play with an easterly made the course play completely different. It was cold, but great fun.”
Having three-putted just twice in four rounds, he added: “It was a treat to putt on these greens.”
The win underlined McDonald’s emergence as one of the rising stars on the Scottish amateur scene over the past couple of years.
He won the Tennant Cup at Gailes Links and Glasgow Killermont last summer and also finished second in the East of Scotland Open at Lundin.
McDonald also started the new domestic season on a promising note by recording a top-five performance in the Craigmillar Park Open earlier in the month.
Carnoustie’s Scott Mann, who was runner-up in that Tennant Cup, finished fourth on this occasion on 299, one ahead of George Burns, who won the Scottish Amateur at Crail in 2019.
East Alliance champion Ross Noon finished a shot further back while three-time Scottish PGA champion Chris Kelly, in just his second 72-hole event since being reinstated as an amateur, also made the top ten on 302.
Crail Golfing Society captain Robert Meikle commented “It is a thrill to see so many of the country’s top amateur golfers travel to Crail and take on the challenge that Craighead Links presents in tournament conditions.
“Jack McDonald is not only a supremely talented golfer but a credit to the Roxburghe, his parents and everyone who has mentored him to get to this level. He joins a growing list of exceptionally gifted golfers to lift our valued trophy and we are all so pleased for him.”
Elsewhere, Royal Burgess member Archie Finnie recorded a top-20 finish in the Welsh Open Stroke-Play Championship at Southerndown.
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