Well it had to happen. After the glorious weather earlier in the week there was bound to be some rain and this morning it came down heavily. Players turned up at the first tee of the Old Course wrapped up from head to toe in waterproofs and so did the spectators. It is quite likely that in any other country the spectators would not show up given the wet conditions and watch the final round of the tournament in the comfort of their living rooms on TV. But not Scots! Being a foreigner myself it never stops amazing me how loyal and enduring the Scottish golf spectators, and particularly those in Fife, are and how they never let the players down.
Sunday was a tough day for the golf photographers as well. Keeping the lens dry in a downpour isn’t easy. As I said before, I do believe they deserved to win the Dunhill quiz for the hardship they have to go through doing their job! The rest of the journalists were typing up the latest from the course in the comfort of the media centre and even though it was not particularly warm inside the tent it was at least dry. Conditions more like the ones we are used to at the Dunhill made everyone exchange the same knowing glances as the queue was forming at the coffee machine.
The St Andrews night sky came alive once again last night with a dazzling fireworks display to mark the eve of the final day´s play. The stunning fireworks spectacle – an annual favourite with golfers, spectators and St Andrews residents alike – consisted of shells up to 12” in diameter, roman candles, mines and rockets, which were all detonated electronically and synchronised to music.
From the point of view of the golf it was a very exciting day. With seven players in contention in the middle part of the day and big names such as McIlroy, McDowell and Oosthuizen in the hunt it set up an exciting finish. Most exciting of all for Fifers was the presence of two locals high up the leaderboard.
Alasdair McDougall, the 14-year-old St Leonards high school in St Andrews student and the winner of the St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association (SALJGA) Order of Merit this year played fantastically with his pro partner Joost Luiten from Holland to finish tied for third place in the pro-am team event with an impressive team score of 35 under par.
Alasdair said: “It has been much, much better than I expected or hoped for. I’ve had really good fun and loved every minute of it. It has been amazing. I want to have this all day, every day, so I’ve definitely got the bug.”
George Murray, from just down the Fife coast at Anstruther and an ex Kingsbarns caddie, has played excellent golf all week at the championship and had his best week of the year. After his round at Kingsbarns yesterday he said: “I´ve been around this course more than any other course, used to caddie here since I was about 16 through about 23, I know it like the back of my hand.” George was in contention for quite a while and in the end managed to finish tied for third place alongside the US Open Champion Graeme McDowell with a score of 18 under par. He thus managed to win his European Tour card for next season and a healthy pay cheque.
The glory and the title of the Alfred Dunhill Links Champion 2011 goes to Northern Irish player Michael Hoey who kept his cool and signed off at 22 under par for his final score finishing two shots ahead of second Rory McIlroy. It is Michael´s third victory on the European Tour and his second one this season after the Madeira Islands Open. This victory makes history for Northern Ireland because it is the first time the country has recorded five victories in a single European Tour season. The 2011 wins are: Darren Clarke (Iberdrola Open and The 140th Open Championship), Michael Hoey (Madeira Islands Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship) and Rory McIlroy (US Open Championship).
A little extra celebrity glamour has been added to the event by the engagement of the glamorous Estée Lauder model and actress Liz Hurley and Australian cricket international Shane Warne. Shane proposed to Liz over a dinner at the Old Course Hotel and in front of all the celebrity guests prompting them to applaud. Shane and Liz also posed for photographs at Kingsbarns. After all, where could possibly be more romantic to get engaged than the Kingdom of Fife?
The 2011 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is over and what an event it was. We have had some great and some not so good weather but above all we have seen some excellent golf and some real celebrity glamour at the Auld Grey Toon. We are all looking forward to next year already!
Posted on October 2, 2011 by admin@golfcomms