Jen Saxton used work data to record 'biggest win by mile' at St Andrews

Jen Saxton reckons a work project helped her follow in the footsteps of Catriona Matthew and Annika Sorenstam at St Andrews, though she’s likely to reassess some findings on her horror hole on the Old Course.

The 25-year-old, who is originally from Kinross but now lives in Dunfermline, emulated both Matthew and Sorenstam by winning the St Rule Trophy at the weekend, when two rounds on the New Course were followed by a closing circuit on the Old Course.

Saxton’s success, which came 12 months after she’d been balloted out of the St Andrews Links Trust event, saw the coveted prize end up in Scottish hands for the third time in a row after wins from Hazel MacGarvie and Hannah Darling in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

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“That’s probably the biggest by a mile,” said Saxton, who won by three shots, of the victory. “It’s still not really sunk in yet, to be honest. It was incredible. I had tears in my eyes walking up 18.

Jen Saxton 2022 St Rule TrophyJen Saxton 2022 St Rule Trophy
Jen Saxton 2022 St Rule Trophy

“In the clubhouse afterwards, I was looking at the board and there are some big names on there - Catriona Matthew, Annika Sorenstam and others - so I’m in good company.”

Saxton, a Stirling University graduate, works as a marketing executive for Edinburgh-based innovative golf tech company Shot Scope, with one of her big projects recently being a study of how club golfers play the Old Course.

Using data obtained from people using the company’s shot-trackers, she has compiled a detailed document about every hole on the course in the build up to this year’s 150th Open.

“As part of my work, I’ve pulled together a 40-page document on how the amateurs play the Old Course as we can see where every shot has gone. We’ve got about 7,000 rounds on there at the moment,” she said.

Jen Saxton and caddie Colin Edgar celebrate their success in the St Rule Trophy.Jen Saxton and caddie Colin Edgar celebrate their success in the St Rule Trophy.
Jen Saxton and caddie Colin Edgar celebrate their success in the St Rule Trophy.

Saxton’s own data from her round on Sunday was certainly interesting as she carded an eagle and seven birdies in a closing 72 that also included a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 11th.

“My document includes where you can miss it on 11 and still be okay, but I think I’m going to have to re-write that a little bit,” she admitted, laughing, of a horror hole that could have been very costly indeed.

“I pulled a 5-iron a little bit and it pitched on the grass at the top of the bunker and kicked left into the bunker,” said Saxton in reliving her tale in words as opposed to tracking it on a screen. “It was probably sitting a bit too nice in the middle of the bunker and I thought to myself, ‘I’ll get that out no bother’. But there’s just no sand in there at all and I never got out.

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“It plugged at the bottom of the face, so I had to go out backwards towards the 12th tee and I kind of thinned it a bit and I thought ‘oh no, that’s going into the water’. But, fortunately, I found I deep patch of rough that must have stopped it.

“I had 66 yards for my fourth shot into a par 3 (laughing) and I had to go over a bin, tee markers and it was awful, but I got it on to the green. However, as all bad holes end, I then three-putted!”

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