Hugh Grant and David Howell must be the unluckiest partnership in Alfred Dunhill Links Championship history after both were forced to withdraw from the tournament with injury. Their misfortune, however, had a silver lining for John Paterson, a 16-year-old St Andrews student and scratch golfer, who took Grant’s place for the third round at the Old Course.
Former winner Howell, the champion in 2013, aggravated a wrist problem on the opening day at Carnoustie and pulled out after playing nine holes, while Grant suffered a back strain after two rounds.
Actor Hugh had initially kept going in the team competition by playing on without a professional partner for three holes until Stuart Manley, the tournament’s first reserve, arrived from St Andrews to take over Howell’s role. The new combination then posted a second round 68 at Kingsbarns, but Grant’s withdrawal opened the door for Paterson, a fortnight after winning the Senior Boys’ category at the Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge event on the Duke’s Course, St Andrews.
Paterson, who attends Madras College in St Andrews and is a member of the New Club in the town, has represented the Scottish Golf Academy for the last three years. What started out as the Howell-Grant team thus started the third round as Manley-Paterson, beginning the day on one over par.