Fixture clash sees top trio miss title tilt
An unfortunate fixture clash will see the Scottish Women’s Championship decided over the next three days minus three likely leading contenders.
Instead of teeing up in one of Scottish Golf’s flagship events at Kilmarnock (Barassie), Shannon McWilliam, Hazel MacGarvie, Hannah Darling are all in Kent on Great Britain & Ireland duty.
Aboyne’s Curtis Cup player McWilliam and Royal Troon member MacGarvie are facing Continental Europe in the Vagliano Trophy while Darling, the double Scottish Girls’ champion from Broomieknowe, is competing in the junior equivalent.
That has certainly weakened the field in Ayrshire, though it still includes three of the past four winners, including defending champion Gemma Batty from West Linton.
“I have never played at Kilmarnock Barassie before, so I am looking forward to a new challenge,” said Batty, who beat Craigielaw’s Gabrielle Macdonald, who has since turned professional, in last year’s final at Elie.
Connie Jaffery (Troon Ladies) and Clara Young (North Berwick) are both out to regain the title they won in 2016 and 2015 respectively, while Chloe Goadby (St Regulus) is likely to be another of the leading contenders.
Carnoustie’s Jessica Meek is the backmarker in the field off of +4.9 while youngsters aiming to make their mark include recent Stephen Gallacher Foundation winner Katie Graham (Hamilton), Gullane’s Grace Crawford and Carys Irvine from Craigielaw.
The top 16 after two stroke-play rounds on Friday progress to the knock-out stage over the weekend, with the consolation Clark Rosebowl following a same format.
• Scott Jamieson fared best among the Scots in the opening round of the Estrella Damm Andalucia Masters as host Sergio Garcia made a promising start to his title defence at Valderrama.
Jamieson sits joint-11th after a three-under 68, three shots off the lead, held by Frenchman Victor Perez, and two behind Garcia as he opened with a bogey-free five-birdie salvo on one of the toughest courses on the European Tour.
• A strong last-day peformance earned Scott Grant (Craig Donnelly Golf) a three-shot success in the Scottish Young Professional Championship at West Lothian.
Three off the pace at the halfway stage, Grant followed a third-round 68 with a splendid closing 65 to finish with a 14-under-par 270 total.
Kris Nicol (Dunes Golf Centre) was second, a shot ahead of Drumpellier’s James Steven and Calum Nairn (Prestwick St Nicholas).