Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty takes a commanding five shot lead into the final day of The R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament on the Old Course at St Andrews.
Representing Maynooth University, Rafferty will look to emulate Galway’s Ronan Mullarney who won the two-day World Amateur Golf Ranking counting event last year.
Rafferty followed up an opening 68 with a superb 67 over the first 36-holes that were played on the the Eden Course and was the only player to get into the red on the opening day with his five-under par total leaving him five shots in front of Royal Portrush’s Peter Kerr.
Rafferty, who got to the semi-finals of the South African Amateur Championship in February, will look to go one better tomorrow with his blistering early season form seemingly peaking at the perfect time ahead of Thursday’s starting West of Ireland Amateur at Rosses Point.
Maynooth golf scholars have won the title three times in the past six years; Ronan Mullarney (2018) Stuart Grehan (2017) & Gary Hurley (2013)With Maynooth sending eleven students in total, Dun Laoghaire’s Alan Fahy was next best of the bunch in a tie for 3rd at one-over par after adding an even par 70 to his opening 71.
One shot further back is Mullarney whose defence is proving an admirable one at plus-two for the tournament (71/71). That’s the same score as Galgorm’s Jamie Sutherland who started brightly with a morning 68 before dropping into a share of 6th after an afternoon 74.
Meanwhile in the women’s event, Hermitage’s Ciara Casey remains Ireland’s leading hope after adding a one-over 74 to her opening 73 to sit six shots off the lead in outright eighth at plus-one.
Lucan’s Molly Dowling is the only other Irishwoman inside the top-10 after adding a three-over par 76 to her even par start.