Maynooth University student David Kitt was relieved to find out he hadn’t been beaten to the R&A Student Series Order of Merit title in the final event of the five-tournament season.
The Athenry native took a sizeable 87-point-lead into the fifth and final event of the series but thought he had relinquished his lead at the top after a T-18th finish at St Andrews Castle Course. However, he was thrilled to realise that he had done enough to win the Order of Merit by just two points (385) over Ben Brookes (383), securing the season-long title and a place on this year’s Arnold Palmer Cup side.
“I thought I’d blown it,” Kitt told the R&A. “I didn’t play well today and, with double points on offer, I was sure I wasn’t going to finish top. It’s hard to believe I’ve won the order of merit. I’ve never felt stress like this after a round of golf. I can’t describe the relief.”
The Galwegian won the opening event of the Student Tour Series last September in Fairmont and he arrived at St Andrews with a target on his back. Kitt opened with a solid round of 73 but a second-round of 79 left the door ajar for the chasers to put the pressure on.
“When I won the Scottish tournament I thought I’d kick on and play better, but I just couldn’t get things going so I only have myself to blame for the stress.”
Kitt recovered from a difficult start to his final round where he fell to three-over through three holes but birdies on 4, 5 and 9 saw him turn in 36.
However back-to-back double bogeys in the middle of his back nine left him sweating as the final groups completed their rounds. Fortunately, it was enough for Kitt to survive and the T-18th finish was his only finish outside the top-10 in the five events.
Kitt’s Maynooth teammate and close friend Allan Hill tasted Palmer Cup experience last year alongside Lauren Walsh and the business and management student is relishing the prospect of making his maiden appearance for the International side.
“To play with the best in the world against the top Americans is incredible,” Kitt said. “I can’t thank The R&A enough for this series. It’s a great initiative; it’s well organised, extremely professional, and we play great courses against good players. I speak on behalf of everyone when I say thanks for giving us this incredible opportunity to develop our games.”