First team captain Laurie Potter celebrates with the rest of the team after an emphatic victory at Formby Golf Club

Exeter golfers triumph in BUCS final

Golfers from the University of Exeter first team have stormed to victory in the British Universities and Colleges Sport Golf Championship final.

The team made the long journey to Formby Golf Club, Lancashire, to face the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) having booked a place in the final, for first time since 2007, with a superb victory over St Andrews in March.

Anticipation filled the air as the side, made entirely of sports scholars took to the course for the morning foursomes led by first team captain Laurie Potter and third year Danny Vallis.

The pair faced strong opponents, including European Challenge Tour professional Harry Prowse, and lost out on the 15th green. However, a sublime showing from second year Bio Sciences student Nick Wildman and Welsh international Katie Bradbury secured a crucial win on the 18th, over arguably the strongest UCLAN pairing of the event, in the second tie to keep Exeter in contention.  

The final morning match saw the Cornish duo of second years Chris Fleming and Chris Johnston get off to a quick start, going three up through nine holes. Despite this some fine golf by the UCLAN pair brought them back into the game which went down to the final hole. The match looked destined for a half until James Ashman from UCLAN holed a 50ft putt across the green for a birdie three. UCLAN led 2-1 at lunch.

The morning result did little to douse the resolve of the Exeter players who launched into the afternoon singles with some stunning golf. Despite being last match out Exeter’s Chris Fleming recorded the first victory of the afternoon. A huge seven and six win on the 12th green drawing the University of Exeter back level.

Captain Laurie Potter then secured the second point with a fine three and two win in a match that was tight until the 13th hole. Danny Vallis, playing number five, nailed win three shortly after with a strong four and three victory despite a tight back restricting his swing.

In a match that could still have gone either way the golf that followed could only be described as European Tour standard with birdies and eagles flowing from the Exeter players. Nick Wildman holed the match winning putt on the 18th to win Exeter’s fourth point of the afternoon. This was shortly followed by a magnificent finish of birdie, par, eagle, birdie (3,3,3,3) from Chris Johnston and Katie Bradbury holing a 10ft putt for to seal the last two matches.  The final score stood 7-2 to the University of Exeter.

First Team Captain Laurie Potter was ecstatic by the win, which ended Stirling's seven year run of title victories, he said: "To be crowned champions of Great Britain feels amazing and it is the perfect end to what has been a fantastic season for the Exeter University Golf Club. All the hard hours of practice and preparation in the cold months have certainly been worth it and I'm pretty sure we will all remember the day we won BUCS Gold for a very very long time!"

The result comes after an exceptional season for the University Golfer’s who secured the BUCS Southern Premier League title in February and have cemented their position at the top of the UK rankings.

High Performance Gof manager Craig Townsend was overwhelmed by the performance of the team. He said: “It was the best team performance I’ve seen in any sport for many years and rivals the Ryder Cup in 2012. The guys were absolutely fantastic and played and prepared like professionals in the weeks and days leading up to the final. Huge pressure in the afternoon but every single player stepped up to the tee and gave it everything. The perfect end to the University golf season and will give them all huge confidence for national events this summer.”

Date: 2 May 2013