Cheyenne Woods, Tiger’s niece, will remember her first visit to Gullane after securing a major appearance through the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
The 28-year-old booked her spot in this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham by finishing among the top three non-exempt LET card holders in the star-studded field on the East Lothian coast.
Woods, who has played on the European circuit for the past few years, had been due to be among the hopefuls in an 18-hole shoot-out at St Annes Old Links today. But she avoided that nerve-wracking scramble after capping an excellent recovery at Gullane with a polished final-day performance in an event won by Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn.
Woods had been in danger of missing the cut after an opening 77 but bounced back with rounds of 66-70-71 to finish joint-36th on level-par, claiming a Women’s British Open berth along with South African Lee-Ann Pace and Spaniard Nuria Iturrios.
“It’s really nice,” said Woods of her succcess. “This has been quite a long stretch and it’s kind of a nice bonus to play well this week and just automatically get into next and have another opportunity.”
She will be hoping to match her uncle’s effort in the men’s version at Carnoustie, where the 14-time major winner was in the mix heading into the back nine before seeing Francesco Molinari get his hands on the Claret Jug.
“I watched the whole round,” said the other golfing Woods. “It’s exciting to see him back up on top and playing well. He looked like he was in total control of his game so it was really good to see. I think we all see he’s got that confidence and the game to back it up.”
Jutanugarn, a 22-year-old from Bangkok, is heading to Royal Lytham as the new world No.1 after jumping above Korea’s Inbee Park with a one-shot success at Gullane.
It was the Thai player’s 11th triumph in the paid ranks but first on Scottish soil. “It means a lot to me,” said Jutanugarn after closing with a 66 for a 13-under-par total, pipping Minjee Lee after the Australian missed a short birdie putt at the last to force a play-off.
“Before this week, I never thought I could win on a links course but I told my caddie, ‘I want to win one time in my life on a links, that would be enough’. I feel lucky to have done that this week, especially after I thought I was going to be in a play-off.”
Looking ahead to that next assignment, she added: “I feel pretty good about my game, but still feel some things can improve, including my short game, and I hope to bring my ‘A’ game next week.”
Kelsey MacDonald had been hoping to secure one of those Women’s British Open spots but came up short after signing off with a 74 to finish joint-59th on three-over.
“I didn’t play particularly great – my short game was poor and that’s what let me down,” said the 27-year-old from Nairn. “My short game was class the first three days so I don’t know if I was a little anxious.”
Turning her attention to the 18-hole shoot-out in Lancashire, she added: “There’s a lot of spots available but unfortunately I’m going to be playing it blind. But that’s the way it is. My prep was for this week and that’s paid off so I’m just hoping for a positive day.”
Other Scots in today’s 18-hole shoot-out at St Annes Old Links include Lothians duo Vikki Laing and Jane Turner while Capital-based American Beth Allen is also among the hopefuls.
So too are Carly Booth, Gemma Dryburgh, Heather MacRae, Laura Murrau, Heathe Stirling and Michele Thomson, as well as amateurs Chloe Goadby, Connie Jaffrey and Shannon McWilliam.
The only Scots among the exempt players for the fourth women’s major of the season are Catriona Matthew, the 2009 winner at Lytham, and Kylie Henry.
The only other home player to join MacDonald in making it to the weekend at Gullane, Henry, finished joint-67th on five-over after signing off with a 75.
“I still felt a wee bit frustrated out there,” she said “But it was okay today, it was fine.”