St. Andrews Links Collegiate: Kayla Smith, Jackson Van Paris win individual titles
Kayla Smith (Golf Channel Photo)
Kayla Smith (Golf Channel Photo)

With the sun trying to peak through the clouds and the wind blowing, Tuesday’s second round at the Jubilee Course proved to be a tougher test.

Kayla Smith of North Carolina battled the elements to outlast Vanderbilt’s Ava Merrill by 2 shots, finishing at 2 under par for the championship.

On the men’s side, Vanderbilt’s Jackson Van Paris backed up his opening round 6-under 64 with a final round of 3-under 67, finishing 3 strokes ahead of his teammate, Cole Sherwood.

Smith started the day strong with birdies at Holes No. 3 and 4. A double-bogey at the par-5 No. 6 and an eagle by Merrill brought scores to within one. It was Smith down the back nine who made the least number of bogeys to secure her victory at the inaugural St Andrews Links Collegiate.

“I feel incredible. I’m stoked. It’s awesome,” Smith said on her historic win, smiling as she later congratulated her team, stating, “I’m obviously so proud of the team. To have the chance at the championship (tomorrow) is awesome.”

Not only did the North Carolina women’s team claim the individual title, Ing Iadpluem, shot a 4-under par 68 to set the ladies Jubilee course record today. The previous course record for the ladies was 69.

“I just feel amazing. I didn’t know that until a little while ago. It’s good to put my name on the clubhouse board,” Iadpluem said of setting the new course record. The number-one-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels women’s team will take on the number-two Vanderbilt Commodores in tomorrow’s medal match play final.

Jackson Van Paris started the day with the lead and never looked back. The putter remained hot for Van Paris, sinking five birdies on the day, including the long 497-yard par-4 11th hole.

“It wasn’t as easy today as it was yesterday. The golf felt a little more difficult. I was lucky to still make some putts and I had a few good breaks here and there and that’s what you need to win,’” Van Paris said. The junior from Pinehurst, N.C., has never played on television before; picking up his first collegiate win live on television across the world is an added bonus.

“He played great. He’s really a kid who really knows how to keep his ball low to the ground, has an unbelievable short game, and has a great imagination. I thought when we got to this golf course, and I said to my assistant coach, I really like Jackson this week, so I’m just super pumped for him,” Coach Scott Limbaugh said of Jackson’s win.

The number-one-seeded Vanderbilt men’s team will take on number-two North Carolina in tomorrow’s final.

“North Carolina is a great team, and we know it’ll take a great effort tomorrow... I know our boys will be excited,” Limbaugh said.

The Hoyas women’s team finished in third place and the men in fourth. Although neither leaderboard favored Georgetown, both sides had their fair share of good play. For the women, Jasmine Lai finished T-6 with a total score of 5 over par.

On the men’s side, Conner Willett posted 4 under par for the tournament and finished today’s round at even par, leaving him in a T-4. With all eyes on the Old Course for tomorrow’s final round, players and coaches are excited.

“It’s going to be cool to be playing in a match-play event. We haven’t played one yet as a team. All of us have a lot of good match play experience, and especially on the Old Course, it’s going to be fun,” Willett said, looking forward to tomorrow’s final.

The Notre Dame men had a great showing in the first two rounds, with a team score of 9 under par. Angelo Marcon had the low round of the day, posting a 6-under 64 to catapult him up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for third.

For the women, Chloe Schiavone and Lauren Beaudreau played great throughout the first two days of the tournament and both finished inside the top 10. Finishing just 4 shots off the lead and in third alone, Schiavone had a great time, even if it didn’t mean holding the individual trophy.

“It's so cool (to play golf on TV). It's my first event on the Golf Channel in my four years at Notre Dame. I really enjoyed having the cameras on me… I know a lot of my family and friends at home were watching,” Schiavone said.

Wednesday’s final round will be played as medal match play. The match play seeds are determined by Monday and Tuesday’s combined scores.

The third round of the 2023 St Andrew Links Collegiate will lead off with the consolation match between the 3rd and 4th seeds, teeing off alternately between the women and men at 8:45 a.m. BST and the championship match featuring number 1st and 2nd seeds, at 10:45 a.m. at the Old Course.

Women’s Seeds: 1) North Carolina, 2) Vanderbilt, 3) Georgetown, 4) Notre Dame

Men’s Seeds: 1) Vanderbilt, 2) North Carolina, 3) Notre Dame, 4) Georgetown

Recap and photos courtesy of Golf Channel

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ABOUT THE The St. Andrews Links Collegiate

Started in 2023, this three-day event will feature men’s and women’s golf teams from four U.S. universities with two days of stroke play on the Jubilee Course followed by a day of medal match play on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

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