The Home Nations dominated proceedings on a wet, grey day at the 2008 Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
Reigning Carris and McEvoy Trophy winner Stiggy Hodgson continued his remarkable summer with a stunning first round 69 at Dundonald Links to lead a high-class field in the 2008 Duke of York Young Champions Trophy by one.
On a day when all 51 players were battered by incessant rain, it was the Home Nation players who, perhaps unsurprisingly, led the way, occupying four of the top-six spots. Kelsey MacDonald, the current Scottish Junior Ladies Open Stroke Play Champion, fired a magnificent five birdies in her 70 to be just one shot behind Hodgson. While Ireland’s Paul Dunne lurks a further three shots back with playing partner and English Ladies Match Play Champion Hannah Barwood lying in 6th.
However, there was no doubt that the first day’s honours went to 18-year-old Stiggy Hodgson. “I feel very confident at the moment, I am playing so steadily and having had a lot of links golf this summer I know what to expect,” said Hodgson. “It was such a good test in this weather but I hit so many fairways and then rolled a fair few putts in to be in good shape.”
Hodgson also had five birdies in his 18 holes, including two glorious twos at Dundonald’s notoriously tricky par-3s. One came at the 120-yard par-3 11th, which was witness to another moment of genius earlier in the day, when Switzerland’s Anais Maggetti recorded a hole-in-one. It was the second ace in as many years at the 11th by a female competitor.
Current Spanish amateur men’s and boy’s number one, Carlos Pigem and Thailand’s Vasin Sripattranusorn defied both the weather and the home challenge to post highly impressive scores. Pigem, who is enjoying a memorable year atop the Spanish game, posted a one-under-par 71 in the worst of the weather. “I was really nervous for the first few holes but then I played so well,” smiled Pigem “It’s difficult but I am enjoying it and with four birdies I am happy.”
Sripattranusorn’s 73 was even more credible given the fact that the Thai had hardly ever seen a links before. The current Thailand Amateur Champion plays off +3.2. However fellow countryman, 2008 Junior Open Champion Moriya Jutanugarn found conditions very tough and returned an 84.
With the Kyle Phillips design standing up remarkably well to the never-ending rain, prospects look good for a fascinating next two days play. Even better the weather forecasters predict some sun tomorrow.