Exeter, Devon UK • May 27, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Sport Toby Smith Powers Through Trevose Storm to Clinch BUCS Golf Gold

Toby Smith Powers Through Trevose Storm to Clinch BUCS Golf Gold

Ceri Vaughan-Jones, Online Sport Editor, reports from Toby Smith's BUCS gold at Trevose Golf & Country Club.
5 mins read
Written by
Toby Smith (right) pictured with second-placed Judd Sundelson (left) and women’s winner Morgan Thomas (centre)
Image: Toby Smith

Exeter student Toby Smith overcame the wind and the rain, and a gruelling three-hole play-off, to win BUCS gold at the 2024 Exeter Trophy, held at Trevose Golf & Country Club.

Attracting the top golfers from universities all over the United Kingdom, 21-year-old Smith, from Collessie, Scotland, posted an impressive 72 (E), 68 (-4), 77 (+5) to finish one-over-par (217) for the three-round competition. Tied with Judd Sundelson, University of Nottingham, and Nicholas Wall, Royal Holloway, University of London, at the top of the leaderboard, a play-off was required to separate the three. 

All three players made a par on the first play-off hole, the par-4 second, Smith holing a tricky 12-foot putt across the slope to stay in the game, much to the delight of the Exeter crowd that had travelled to the north coast of Cornwall both to compete and to support.

The par-5 ninth hole was up next, a favourite for Smith over the three days having made birdie in each of the three rounds. Showing his nerves of steel, he repeated the trick but was matched by Sundelson, meaning that Wall would bow out. 

Back to the second hole on the course, the Scot hit a beautiful drive to take a slight advantage after Sundelson had found the rough on the right-hand side. The Nottingham student could then only find the green-side bunker. Under the guidance of caddie Max Hayward, Smith opted for a safe shot to the middle of the green, but a poor strike saw his ball come up short, leaving work to be done for the par. A perfectly weighted putt from the fringe, however, left Smith two feet away from the hole, piling pressure on Sundelson who needed to make an up-and-down for his par. With this feat proving too much, Smith stepped up and rolled the ball confidently into the bottom of the cup. BUCS gold secured and heading back to Exeter!

Smith’s success largely came down to the electric golf he showed during round one and two.

Battling through the poor weather conditions, including a hailstorm during the final round, Smith’s success largely came down to the electric golf he showed during round one and two. A level-par opening round put him in good position before a superb four-under-par second round gave him the joint-lead heading into the final day. The only blemish on the card came via a bogey at 17, but his five prior birdies on holes 2, 6, 9, 13 and 15 meant that he stormed up the leaderboard despite the strong gusts of wind.

He had a shaky start to the final round, making a double bogey on the second. However, a string of six consecutive pars before a birdie on the ninth seemed to settle the nerves. But the drama didn’t end there. The BSc Accounting and Business student’s putter, that had been so trustworthy throughout the competition, suddenly turned cold. Four bogeys in five back-nine holes followed and Sundelson made birdie on 18 to take the clubhouse lead at +1. 

Smith and Wall both finished with two pars apiece to force a three-way play-off. Despite the poor back nine, Smith dusted himself down and showed the composure of a champion to claim the victory, spurred on by the jubilant home crowd.

After his BUCS gold win, Smith stated, “It was awesome to finally win an individual BUCS event, made even sweeter by the fact that I’m in my final year and that it was a home event. We’ve had a great season as a club, all the boys have really bought into the High-Performance Programme (HPP), creating a competitive atmosphere that has brought the best out of all of us. On a personal note, I have not lost a single league game this season and now BUCS gold feels like the crowning moment of a fine season. I’m very proud of all the boys for their incredible efforts throughout the year.”

BUCS gold feels like the crowning moment of a fine season.

Toby Smith

Asked about his mentality heading into the final round, the Scot revealed, “I had the outlook that that it was just another round of golf. The weather was horrible so I had to accept that there would be both good and bad breaks as a result. I decided to stay aggressive and not to protect the scorecard nor pay attention to the other scores. In a way, the double bogey on the second focused me and made me make sure that I had 100% clarity of every single shot from that point onwards.”

It has certainly been a successful year once again for the University of Exeter Golf Club with plenty of individual success on the BUCS Tour and R&A Student Series accompanied by respective league wins for the 1s, 2s and 4s, and a Western Conference Cup triumph for the 5s.

Elsewhere in the 2024 Exeter Trophy there were top-10 finishes for many Exeter students. First-team captain Harry Butler finished fourth while Iestyn McAvoy and Sam Haynes-Coote were sixth and eighth respectively, with Max Hayward and Matthew Pepper tied for ninth. In the women’s competition, Amy Nunn, Lottie Heaver and Chloe Hall finished fourth, fifth and sixth, in their order. They all pick up valuable points in the University of Exeter’s quest to finish top of the overall BUCS table. 

Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, the 1s will look to back up their league victory with a strong performance in the BUCS Gold Cup Finals Day at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. They take on a strong University of Stirling side in the semi-finals. Best of luck!

Toby Smith (centre) with the rest of the HPP squad at Trevose Golf & Country Club
Image: Toby Smith

You may also like

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign Up for Our Newsletter