The University of Exeter first team defeated St Andrews in the BUCS knockout semi final. (from left Ben Leigh, Chris Johnston, Danny Vallis, Nick Wildman, Laurie Potter, Chris Fleming)

University golfers seal position in BUCS final

On Wednesday 6 March the University of Exeter Golf first team took on rivals St Andrews in an England/Scotland semi-final for a coveted spot in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Knockout final; a feat that hadn’t been achieved since the side won the title in 2005. Club captain Laurie Potter takes us through a memorable weekend.

After a solid week’s preparation and a few motivational words from Captain Laurie Potter the University of Exeter were fired up and ready to take on their Scottish counterparts at Dawlish Warren in what promised to be an extremely tight encounter.

The morning foursomes got under way with Potter and Danny Vallis leading the side out in the opening match. However, things didn’t go to plan for the duo and they found themselves two down through nine holes. Despite picking up a couple of birdies on the back nine the St Andrews pair were too strong and ran out 3&2 winner. 1-0 Scotland.

Match two saw Nick Wildman and Ben Leigh determined to get the University of Exeter on the scoreboard. With some very consistent golf and great putting the pair ran out 3&2 victors squaring the game at 1-1. Great work from the boys in green.

Match three saw Cornish duo of Chris Fleming and debutant Chris Johnson jump straight out of the blocks with a tap-in birdie down the first. This form continued and the Exeter pair found themselves well up through nine. St. Andrews hit back however with birdies of their own but thanks to some clutch putts from the Cornish boys Exeter took the game 3&2 providing Exeter with a vital 2-1 lead at lunch.

After lunch both teams were refreshed and ready to go. With a place in the final up for grabs it was set to be a fierce afternoon’s golf. In match 1 Potter was keen to get revenge for his morning defeat but St. Andrew’s strongest player wasn’t going to roll over without a fight. With five birdies and just two dropped shots St. Andrews’ number one proved too strong for Potter and took the match 3&2 once again squaring the match 2-2.

In match 2 Danny Vallis also fresh off of a morning loss had other ideas and with an array of fantastic iron play proved too strong for his Scottish counterpart, eventually running out a 4&3 winner. 3-2 Exeter.

Match three saw second year Nick Wildman take full control. After two birdies on the front nine Wildman found himself two up through nine and very much in control of his match. Further consistent golf followed and after birdies at 14 and 15 the game was over with yet another win for the guys in green. 4-2 Exeter, only 1 win needed from the last 2 games to book a place in the final!

Match four got off to an equally impressive start as second year Ben Leigh displayed an excellent short game. The Essex man had victory within his sights as he stood on the 15th tee 2 up with just 4 holes to play. However, St. Andrews weren’t going to roll over that easily and thanks to a 40 foot putt on 16 won three out of the last four holes to take the game 1 up and narrow the match to 4-3.

Match five saw fresher Chris Johnson take to the course hoping to continue the fine form that had earned him his spot in the side. Nerves were riding high as he fought hard to seal the deal; however Chris funnelled these nerves positively rising to the occasion and producing almost flawless golf that included and eagle two at the 14th. Chris went on to take his match 3&2 and with it secured victory for the University of Exeter, booking a spot in the final for the first time in seven years.

Captain Laurie Potter commented: “I was really proud of the guys out there today, they were all so fired up and had only one thing on their mind: going out there and getting the job done. They all raised their game when they had to and should be proud of what they achieved today; bring on the final in May!”

The hard work will now begin in preparation for the final on 1st May at Formby (near Liverpool) where the University of Exeter will face the University of Central Lancashire who defeated championship favourites Stirling in the other semi-final. 

The University of Exeter Golf Club would like to take this moment to thank all those who came down to support the side on Wednesday, your support was invaluable.

Date: 11 March 2013