Rudd Sets New Balcomie Course Record 60 Inspired By Tom Watson
by Bernie McGuire
David Rudd admitted having played late last year in the company of legendary Tom Watson helped him smash the Balcomie Links course record with a nine-under par 60 on the opening day qualifier of the Scottish Men’s Amateur at Crail.
The 19-year old Longniddry member broke the par-69 record by one shot and bizarrely on a day the Crail Golfing Society had the 15-year old prior record scorecard held by proud member, Ross Forgan returned from a fresh re-framing.
Ross had been monitoring the progress of the opening round qualifier with John Paterson, representing the New Club at St. Andrews, who was out in the first group in matching the record with a 62.
Less than an hour later and Bruntsfield Links Eric McIntosh also signed for a 62 to ensure three players now held the Balcomie Links course record.
It was around 2pm when Dunniker Park’s Liam Duncan walked off the course having posted eight birdies in setting a new course record of an eight-under par 61.
Though the storyline would change again and that came a ‘lucky’ 13 groups later with Rudd grabbing 11 birdies, remarkably including six one-putt birdies from the 7th to 12th holes, in his sizzling nine-under par 60.
In fact, Rudd had a dozen one-putts in a total of 24 putts while he could have posted a 58 had it not been for two bogeys.
“Honestly, I came off the 18th with absolutely not sure what score I had shot,” he said
“I knew I had made a few birdies but to shoot a 60 was a very odd feeling not knowing that it was anything like a 60.
“I thought I was around five or six-under and it turned out a bit better.
“So, I just got hot with the putter and with the conditions quite calm and you could get away with hitting a lot of drivers.
Rudd says he gleaned inspiration for a career lowest score playing last year in the company of eight-time Major winning Tom Watson.
“I played in the Watson Cup last October at Kiawah Island and Tom out watching our match which was just very inspirational while my coach, Stewart Savage has been great this past month,” he said.
Seventeen of the leading 19 players after the opening day were those who competed on the Balcomie Links.
And while Paterson and McIntosh had shot 62s another four players also shot 62.
Just one-shot further back with a very impressive 63 was Crail’s 15-year old Gregor Graham who, along with his father, Stuart, was also out on Balcomie Links.
Stuart was seven-under playing the last two but unfortunately finished bogey, bogey in a still credible four-under 65.
And his 12-year old, four-foot other son, Connor could stand tall posting a two-over par 74 on the Craighead Links.
Connor indicated the highlight of his round was wedge to 12-foot for birdie at the par-4 third hole.
“It was a tough course as I can’t reach some of the holes, but I shot three-under my handicap so overall I was really pleased with today’s round," said Connor.
Young Connor is believed to be the youngest-ever to tee-up in the near 100-year history of the Amateur.
Elsewhere on the Craighead Links, Craigielaw's Angus Carrick and Tehidy Park's Rob MacGreggor carded the lowest rounds of the day, both carding five-under par rounds of 67 to take a tie for 13th place going into their round two tomorrow on Balcomie
"I played steady throughout the whole day; managing to take advantage of the calm conditions and soft golf course. It is the harder of the two courses but hopefully I can continue to good playing in tomorrow’s second round," said Carrick.
And defending Men’s Amateur champ, Euan McIntosh has his work cut-off after posting a one-over par 73 on the Craighead Links.
Following tomorrow’s second round of stroke play at Crail, there will be a cut with the top-64 players progressing to the matchplay competition which will take place from Thursday 1 August to Saturday 3 August.