Griffin buzzing for St Andrews return at Student Series finale

John Craven

Ryan Griffin - Getty Images

Maynooth’s Ryan Griffin was unable to hide his excitement ahead of next week’s R&A Student Series finale at the Home of Golf from April 3-5.

No stranger to St Andrews, Griffin, who’ll arrive off the back of victory at the penultimate event in Spain, can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere at a place he’ll never get tired of visiting.

“We’ve been so lucky with the programme to go to so many different places but without a doubt, St Andrews is always my favourite place to go back to,” says Griffin.


“There’s just such a buzz about the town. There’s golf shops everywhere, history all over the walls, everything is just golf.

“It was my first time there with the Series last year and just walking down to the 18th green was so cool. You just know so many different shots that have been hit around the place. You can feel the history of it just being there. It’s mad!”

Griffin will hope to carve out his own little piece of history at golf’s spiritual home after his playoff victory over Maynooth teammate Alan Fahy in Malaga earlier this month propelled him into third spot in the Order of Merit race.

With one-and-a-half times the points on offer for the final event, as well as spots in the Arnold Palmer Cup, The Amateur, and a Challenge Tour invite to the season-long race winner, opportunity knocks for the likes of Griffin, and the Ballybofey man hopes some old fashioned Scottish weather will play to his strengths.

“Obviously the Order of Merit will be in the back of your mind but at the same time, it’s just a golf tournament and it’s the golf I grew up playing my entire life,” says Griffin, who’ll hope to follow in the footsteps of David Kitt who won the Order of Merit for Maynooth last year.

“It’s going to be about keeping the ball on the ground, making birdies when you can, and just staying patient when you find yourself in horrific places, because you will!

“Out in Spain and Portugal, that grind doesn’t exist, so if the weather is bad, you can rule out, I’d say 80% of the field because half them won’t be able to cope with conditions, and the other half will just be complaining the whole time.

“I know how to keep the ball at knee height!”

Alongside his fellow Paddy Harrington Scholars, Griffin will arrive in St Andrews with no shortage of game-time under his belt courtesy of an R&A Student Series that has transformed the programme at Maynooth and enriched it with year-round golf.

“It’s been brilliant,” Griffin says.

“If we were solely based in Ireland, we’d finish the season in October and you’re just sitting around waiting until the West in April – it’s a long wait to have no competitive golf.

“The Student Series has been great to fill that gap. We’ve been grinding away for weeks now and it’s great to have it.”

Griffin, who also plays his golf out of Rosapenna, has another year left on his undergrad at Maynooth and hopes to do a Masters before contemplating life after college. And in Kildare’s famous university town he’s found a home away from home, and a golf programme fit to rival anywhere in Europe.

“There’s no mad panic to get out into the big, bad world of work yet anyway,” he laughs.

“Maynooth’s been great – it’s like a second Donegal with the amount of us down here.

“And it’s so close to Dublin too if you want to head in. It’s just a real nice place to be. We obviously have access to Carton House through the programme too and those facilities are second to none.

“Even getting fitted for clubs, Kenny [Fahy] and all the team at the Academy look after us so well.

“Noel Fox [coach] is just over the road in Portmarnock and we’ve access there too. One of the nicest clubs in the entire country and we can nip over there in a half an hour.

“It’s just a phenomenal set-up and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

The first two rounds of next week’s finale will be played over the St Andrews Jubilee Course before the final round is contested on the Old Course.

As ever, Maynooth boasts a strong hand with more students in the race for the men’s Order of Merit title than any other Institution, with six students lying inside the Top-10 (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 10th, 12th). In the women’s event, Kate Dwyer lies in 6th place.

  • More information on the R&A Student Series HERE
  • Men’s Order of Merit table HERE

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