St Andrews delight for Coxmoor golfer Seb Cave

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Coxmoor Golf Club’s Seb Cave joined a long list of illustrious winners as he won the 2024 St Andrews Links Trophy on Sunday.

Cave, who turned 20 this week, led from the first round and sealed victory on the final day as he shot -6 across 72 holes to beat fellow Englishman Harley Smith and Scotland’s Calum Scott, who were two shots back.

There were also top-10 finishes for English pair Will Hopkins and Josh Hill.

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Cave’s win puts him in pole position in the Open Amateur Qualifying series across the St Andrews Links Trophy, European Amateur Championship, and the Amateur Championship for a spot in the 152nd Open at Royal Troon in July.

Seb Cave with his Links Trophy.Seb Cave with his Links Trophy.
Seb Cave with his Links Trophy.

An opening round of 66 on the New Course was backed up with a three-under 69 on the Old Course to sit two shots clear at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage, and despite a three-over 75 in the third round on the final day, he held on to his two-shot lead as blustery conditions proved equally tough for the majority of the chasing pack.

Scott did overtake Cave briefly during the final round but three bogeys on his inward nine saw him relinquish his lead.

Cave needed a par on the final hole for a final round of -1, after Sweden’s Simon Hovdal, needing a birdie or better to beat Cave, pulled his tee shot out of bounds.

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Cave’s victory comes after a fantastic first season in US collegiate golf, during which he was named American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and enjoyed two wins and six top-20 finishes.

Following his win, Cave said: “It feels amazing.

“You can’t really get much bigger than this as an amateur.

“I’ve never really seemed to crack it around here, but I came here with a good mindset, and I genuinely believe having my girlfriend on the bag has helped massively, and I just stayed chilled.

“I didn’t know where I was coming down the stretch, and I just tried to play golf, and I loved every minute of it.

“36 holes on any golf course is a long day, but round here with the wind and the rain is something special. To win here in front of my family and friends and my girlfriend was great, so I’m over the moon.”

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Speaking about his position at the top of The Open Amateur Series, he added: “In America now, there’s so many platforms and stages for those guys to go and play in the big leagues, so this is a great opportunity for us guys trying to compete and do well as an amateur.

“The British Amateur is straight after this. I’m just going to enjoy some time back at home from the States and prepare for that.”

Created in 1989, the St Andrews Links Trophy has attracted the world's top amateur golfers, many of whom have gone on to enjoy success on the PGA and European Tours, notably Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Trevor Immelman, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari and Robert MacIntyre.

The tournament sees elite amateur players from around the world compete at the Home of Golf, with one round on the New Course, followed by three rounds on the coveted Old Course.

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The R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) ranks the St Andrews Links Trophy as one of the strongest amateur tournaments.

All 144 competitors played 18 holes on the New Course on Friday, followed by 18 holes on the Old Course on Saturday.

The 40 lowest scores over these 36 holes, and any tying for 40th place, qualified for the final 36 holes on the Old Course on Sunday.

The field included recent Brabazon Trophy winner Gregor Graham, reigning Scottish Men’s Amateur Champion Cameron Adam, Lytham Trophy winner Will Hopkins, Africa Amateur Champion Altin Van Der Merwe, the Asia Pacific Champion Jasper Stubbs, R&A Gold Medal winner Charlie Gillespie and last week’s Scottish Men’s Open Championship winner Dominic Clemons.

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