Traditional R&A medal tournaments hit the gold standard

Ben Caton (men's runner-up), John Paterson (men's winner), Sir Michael Bonallack and Lady Bonallack, Ellen Caton (women's winner) and Claire Hargan (women's runner-up). Picture by Alan Richardson.
Ben Caton (men's runner-up), John Paterson (men's winner), Sir Michael Bonallack and Lady Bonallack, Ellen Caton (women's winner) and Claire Hargan (women's runner-up). Picture by Alan Richardson.
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The R&A’s historic Local Clubs Gold Medal dominated play at the Old Course on Sunday with the competition going down to the wire.

The male event, regarded as the men’s strokeplay championship of St Andrews, was being staged for the 118th time, taking a break only during The First and The Second World Wars.

The maximum starting field of 60 was made up of 32 competitors from The St Andrews Golf Club, 15 from The New Golf Club, nine from The University of St Andrews Golf Club and four from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

At the end of round one, the lead was held by 18 year old Ben Caton of The New Golf Club, with a scratch score of 66, one stroke clear of the field.

The 12 competitors with the lowest round one scores, and any ties for twelfth place, qualified for round two.

The qualifying score was 71, and 15 competitors made the cut.

After round two, and the conclusion of the competition, the runner-up with a 36-hole aggregate scratch score of 137 (66 + 71) was Ben Caton of The New Golf Club.

The winner of the Gold Medal, and the 2019 Men’s Champion of the Links, also with a 36-hole aggregate scratch score of 137 (70 and 67), was John Paterson of The New Golf Club, winning with a better second round score.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s Local Clubs’ Women’s Gold Medal competition, was also played over The Old Course.

This was the third staging of a Women’s Gold Medal.

A starting field of 21 was made up of 17 Competitors from St Regulus Ladies’ Golf Club and four from The St Rule Club.

16 years’ old Ellen Caton the youngest competitor in the field, and Claire Hargan, both from St Regulus Ladies’ Golf Club, returned the two best scratch scores of 76.

After count-back over the last nine holes, the winner of the Gold Medal, and the 2019 Women’s Champion of the Links, was Ellen Caton.

Year 12 Ellen is golf captain at St Leonards, while brother Ben is a former pupil.

Following a gap year to focus on his golf, Ben will take up the offer of a coveted golf scholarship at Houston Baptist University in Texas, Colin Montgomerie’s alma mater, in the autumn.

The school was obviously delighted with the efforts of both.

Fintan Bonner, Director of Golf at St Leonards, said: “These are fantastic achievements for both Ellen and Ben, and testament to their great skill, technique and dedication to the game of golf.

“The siblings have represented St Leonards in national and international competitions over the years, and to finish in first and second place respectively in this prestigious home tournament is certainly reason to celebrate.”

The medals were presented by Sir Michael and Lady Bonallack who commended the competitors on their outstanding performances.

• Royal Navy sailors from all over the country gathered in St Andrews to compete against each other in the Royal Navy Golf Cup Final.

In testing competitions, 104 sailors and marines played 36 holes on the New and Jubilee courses.

The eventual team winners were 40 CDO Royal Marines, based in Plymouth and winner of the individual competition was Lt Andy Cobbold RN from RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.

Captain Craig Mearns, who is based at Faslane and is the Chair of the Royal Navy Golf Association said: “I am delighted that we managed to bring the Navy Cup north to St Andrews. It has been an outstanding success and we are indebted to the St Andrews Links Trust for their support in making this event happen.”