arrived in the north of Scotland safe and sound but sadly his clubs didn’t. The 59-year-old borrowed a putter and a few wedges from the Royal Dornoch club professional but had to travel down to Inverness to buy the rest.
He managed to put them to good use in his first competitive round over one of Scotland’s greatest championship links.
McCoy carded a bogey-free, four-under-par 66 over Royal Dornoch’s Championship course on Tuesday to take a one-shot lead over Scotland’s Robert Jenkins
after the first-round of The R&A Senior Amateur Championship.
Americans Doug Clapp and Lee Porter share third at one-under after both shooting a 69 around the Struie and Championship courses.
Par save settles the nerves
McCoy’s first competitive hit with his new kit didn’t pay immediate dividends.
“My first shot, I hit it in one of the fairway bunkers and had to blast out, but I hit a good wedge to four feet and saved par,” McCoy said.
“That kind of settled me down and I stayed patient. I putted well and kept the ball in play the rest of the way. Other than the first, I was steady all day.
Elliott provides information
McCoy is good friends with fellow Des Moines native and defending champion, Gene Elliott.
He credits last year’s champion, who returned a 74 over the Struie layout to sit eight shots behind McCoy, with giving him renewed inspiration despite a distinguished career that’s seen him win the 2013 US Mid-Amateur Championship, finish low amateur in the 2014 and 2015 US Senior Opens and play in the 2015 Walker Cup.
“Gene’s my next door neighbor and we’re good friends. We play a lot of golf together. To see what he did last year in winning at Ganton and then adding the US Senior Amateur was inspiring for me.”
Walker Cup responsibilities
McCoy was named 2023 US Walker Cup captain in March, and will lead America’s 10 best players over the Old Course next year. He says the job starts in earnest next week when he travels to St Andrews to attend meetings during The 150th Open Championship.
“We’re just getting started with all of that and it will be good to meet my counterpart, Stuart Wilson, next week. I’ll start getting an idea of the schedule and logistics. So it’s easy to play golf right now, but it might be a bit more difficult once we get closer to the Walker Cup.”
He may just turn up for next September’s match as The R&A Senior Open champion.
Hole-in-one with borrowed clubs
McCoy wasn’t the only American to turn up in Dornoch without his golf clubs.
Scott Almquist did too, but it didn’t stop the 57-year-old from finishing his three-over 73 round on the Struie course with some panache.
Almquist holed out on the par-three, 18th with an 8-iron for his eighth ace.
“It was into the wind and landed an inch from the hole, went about six inches and spun back into the hole,” Almquist said. “I was surprised because I’m playing with rented clubs and I find it hard to shape the irons.”
He finally found the right shape on the 18th hole.
ABOUT THE British Senior Amateur
The British Senior Amateur, called the "Seniors
Amateur Championship" in the United Kingdom,
was launched by The R&A in 1969 to help select
a Great Britain & Ireland side to play in the
World Senior Amateur Team Championship.
Though the British Senior Amateur, played for the
first time at Formby, was an instant success, the
team event did not survive beyond 1969. Charlie
Green has been the most successful player in
the history of the event, winning six times in
seven years beginning in 1988. Like the U.S.
Senior Amateur, players must be over the age of
55 to play. Notable courses played over the
years include Royal County Down, Royal
Portrush, Royal Aberdeen, and Walton Heath.
View Complete Tournament Information