ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (June 7, 2015) -- Federico Zucchetti and Filippo Campigli went 1-2 at the Old Course, in a show of Italian strength at the international "Home of Golf."
The tournament was shortened to 54-holes, with the final two rounds played on Sunday, after rain washed out Saturday's round.
Zucchetti again found the Old Course to his liking today to become the first Italian winner of the St Andrews Links Trophy – after early evening drama at next month’s Open Championship venue.
Defying the fierce weekend wind and an international-class field befitting one of the leading amateur events in the world, the 20-year-old from Milan built on his third-place finish in the event 12 months ago to claim a one-shot success in Fife.
Zucchetti posted a two-under-par total for the shortened 54-hole event to emerge triumphant, defying his World Amateur Golf Ranking of No. 525. After the dust had settled, it was an Italian one-two as Filippo Campigli secured the runner-up spot on one under par.
A closing birdie from local lad Connor Syme (Drumoig) ensured a creditable home showing from the Scots, as he tied for third with Peebles’ Craig Howie on level par. Thornhill’s Greig Marchbank, meantime, shared sixth place on one over par as the Scots trio all boosted their Walker Cup hopes.
However, the bare facts fail to tell the full story of the final day given Ireland’s John-Ross Galbraith also tied for third place after seemingly having the title in his grasp.
Zucchetti completed his round some two hours before the leaders and had finished on a sour note following an errant second shot that found the Valley of Sin. What looked like a birdie turned into a potentially damaging bogey as he closed with a level par 72.
With the wind finally beginning to ease – gale force winds gusting at more than 60mph caused the abandonment of the second day’s play – Galbraith, world-ranked 739th, looked set for his greatest golfing day as he held a two-shot lead on the 14th tee.
But after finding all kinds of problems in the face of a bunker on the adjacent 5th hole, the Irishman walked off with a quadruple-bogey 8. A further stroke slipped away at the notorious Road Hole 17th, meaning Zucchetti, who had gone to hit balls at the range in readiness for a play-off, was crowned champion.
“To win at the Old Course is very special, especially after finishing third in this tournament last year and just one shot behind,” said a delighted Zucchetti.
“I shot one under on the Jubilee course on Friday and I was six shots from the lead so I knew it would be tough as the Old Course can be very hard.
“So to win also with all the grandstands, scoreboards and tee markers already in place for The Open next month was like an incentive for me, as I won in Turin last week where they play the Italian Open.
“My next event is the Amateur Championship (at Carnoustie and Panmure) and I’m going there with two wins. Maybe I can do the same as Matteo (Manassero, 2009 Amateur champion) as that would be even more special.”
With the tournament played over less than 72 holes for only the third time since its inception in 1989, the cut was made on level par, with those players posting scores of 72 or better in the first round over the Jubilee Course making it through to the final 36 holes over the Old Course today.
The Scots challenge was led by Syme and Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie) after round one, who shared second spot on six-under par behind overnight leader, Irishman Cormac Sharvin.
But McDonald had to settle for a tie for 14th spot overall after a pair of 77’s today while his fellow Walker Cup hopeful Sharvin saw his hopes blown away after an 80 in his second round.
Former Scottish Boys champion Howie could reflect on a better weekend having closed with a 70 that featured an eagle 2 at the 12th, building on his share of ninth place in last weekend’s Carrick Neill Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship at Moray.
Compatriot Marchbank, who tied for 14th in the Highlands a week ago, shared sixth place with another Irishman, Jack Hume, and the French pair of Thomas Perrot and Romain Langasque.
Glencruitten left-hander Robert MacIntyre returned from his first season of college golf in the US to tie for 11th place alongside the likes of Australian Antonio Murdaca, who played at The Masters at Augusta National earlier this year.
The defending champion, Grant Forrest from Craigielaw, also back again on Scottish soil after his college season in America, tied for 27th on six over par.
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (June 5, 2015) -- Cormac Sharvin of Ireland is looking to put an end to a string of second and third place finishes this year. He posted 65 on day one of the St. Andrews Links Trophy, where the field played the Jubilee Course.
Sharvin has had a stellar start to the 2015 season. He has runner-up finishes at the Lytham Trophy and the Irish Open Amateur, as well as a third-place showing at last week's Scottish Open Amateur. But despite being ranked No. 20 in the AmateurGolf.com World Player-of-the-Year Rankings, Sharvin doesn't have a major win to his name yet.
The Irish native leads a pair of Scots by a stroke as Jack McDonald and Connor Syme posted 66 on Friday, while another Irishman, John-Ross Galbraith, is in fourth at 67.
Sotogrande Cup winner Mario Galiano of Spain is in fifth after an opening 68, followed by five players tied for sixth at three-under 69.
Defending champion Grant Forrest, who just finished his senior campaign at the University of San Diego, posted even-par 72.