Ireland’s Ronan Mullarney and Chloe Ryan are off to the Palmer Cup after they defied miserable weather conditions to win The R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament in St Andrews on Tuesday.
Contested over 54 holes at both the Eden and Old Courses, the two-day World Amateur Golf Ranking-counting tournament features 60 men and women students representing 20 universities from across the world.
The tournament offers both winners a place on the International Team for the Arnold Palmer Cup clash with the USA at the Evian Resort in France from July 6-8.
And that's what made victory so much sweeter for Castletroy's Ryan, who didn't enjoy that reward when she won the event for the first time in 2016.
"I think the fact that I make this team makes it my best result," Ryan said after she followed rounds of 73 and 72 on the par-73 Eden Course with a three-under 73 on the Old Course to win by two strokes from the University of Stirling's Emma Batty on four-under par.
Ryan, who is studying for a Masters in Sports Law at the "Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia" (ISDE) in Madrid, recorded a three-under-par 73 to finish on four-under-par and record an overall 54-hole score of 218.
Ranked 201st in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, she faced an anxious wait to confirm her victory.
“I wasn’t sure if I had won or not until the very end – Gemma played very well – so I’m absolutely thrilled and can’t wait for everything that comes with it," she said.
“It was very tough. I’m living in Madrid now, so it has been very cold here! The last two days I have had to wrap up and wear extra layers and it’s been wet and windy – so it feels even better to have won in that kind of conditions."
On playing at the Arnold Palmer Cup and joining the University of Arizona's Olivia Mehaffey in the first year a women’s event has been included, she added: “I’m very excited about being able to go and represent the International Team against the United States in the Arnold Palmer Cup – I can’t wait."
Ryan is in her last year of studies thanked The R&A for the support she has received throughout her time at university.
“It’s fantastic," the 24-year old said. "The bursary helps fund our schooling and our golf, so it is really important for everybody who receives it.
“I’m very lucky to have had that support for the last four years so thanks very much to The R&A for everything they do for me."
Mullarney, who studies at Maynooth University, extended his three-shot overnight lead with a two-under-par 70 to win by four shots on four-under pa from George Burns from the University of St Andrews, the University of Stirling’s Robert Foley and Jack Cope.
It was Mullarney’s third attempt at capturing The R&A title and the Galway golfer and Ireland international was happy to continue his good form into the final day.
“I was delighted to win today,” Mullarney said. “I knew the score out on the Old Course was going to be most important. Our manager told us that going on the past the winner has the best score out there today.
“The conditions were brutal – just terrible. We got the front nine quite nice, but the back nine was nasty. We were well prepared for it from yesterday!”
Mullarney, ranked 448th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, admitted the draw of winning a place at the Arnold Palmer Cup was a key factor in playing in Scotland rather than the West of Ireland Championship at Rosses Point.
“It’s some prize to have," he said. "I would be lying to say I wasn’t thinking about it the last few days. I’m looking forward to it.
“There was never really a question in my mind about coming here – it’s the home of golf with a chance to get into the Arnold Palmer Cup."
On The R&A Foundation Scholarship, Mullarney added: “It’s huge. We couldn’t travel to have the places we do without the backing they give us.”
The R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament 2018
The Eden & The Old Course, St Andrews
How the Irish fared
1 Ronan Mullarney (Maynooth University) 67 71 70 208
T8 Peter Kerr (University of St Andrews) 73 76 67 216
T10 Eugene Smith (Maynooth University) 70 71 76 217
12 Caolan Rafferty (Maynooth University) 74 70 74 218
T13 John Hickey (Cork Institute of Technology) 73 72 74 219
T15 Alexander Wilson (University of St Andrews) 73 73 74 220
T17 Eanna Griffin (Maynooth University) 71 79 71 221
21 Cathal Butler (Maynooth University) 72 75 75 222
24 Darragh Coghlan (University of Limerick) 76 77 71 224
T25 Alan Fahy (Maynooth University) 75 76 74 225
T29 Ross Dutton (Ulster University) 78 76 75 229
T33 Gary Ward (Cork Institute of Technology) 74 80 77 231
T36 Ted Collins (University College Dublin) 80 78 75 233
38 Aaron Ryan (Maynooth University) 79 77 78 234
40 Liam Power (Maynooth University) 75 77 86 238
RTD Stefan Greenberg (Ulster University) 82 78 RT 160
1 Chloe Ryan (ISDE, Madrid) 73 72 73 218
4 Jessica Ross (Queens University Belfast) 78 73 75 226
6 Clodagh Walsh (Maynooth University) 78 82 73 233
7 Molly Dowling (Maynooth Unversity) 82 78 74 234
9 Mary Doyle (Maynooth University) 82 73 81 236
T12 Ciara Casey (Maynooth University) 82 80 76 238
15 Shannon Burke (Ulster University Jordanstown) 75 86 79 240.