Clara Young out to repeat Tiger Woods' feat again at St Andrews

Tiger Woods, who achieved the feat in The Open in 2000, isn’t the only player to have tasted success at St Andrews by failing to hit into a single bunker.

Clara Young in action in the final of the recent North Berwick Ladies' Championship final against Grace Crawford. Picture: Ross Duncan.
Clara Young in action in the final of the recent North Berwick Ladies' Championship final against Grace Crawford. Picture: Ross Duncan.

While over 54 holes rather than 72 and a mix of rounds on the Old and New Courses, Clara Young also pulled off the notable feat when winning the St Rule Trophy in 2017.

The North Berwick player is heading back to the Fife town this weekend for the 2021 edition, which will be the biggest event to be held there in the Covid-19 world, and is aiming to get herself in the mix again.

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“I’ve generally played quite well in the St Rule as I feel like the St Andrews courses are similar to what I grew up playing on,” said Young. “Both North Berwick and St Andrews have big greens, so there’s an emphasis on pace putting.

“Obviously winning the event in 2017 was special, I had one of my best putting weeks and didn’t go in a single bunker!”

Royal Troon’s Hazel MacGarvie, the 2019 winner, is also in a strong home contingent for the event, which produced back-to-back victories for Catriona Matthew in the mid-90s

“It is exciting to have a big event again, especially at St Andrews,” added Young, the 2015 Scottish Women’s champion and two-time beaten finalist. “I’m very thankful that the event is going ahead and that I’ve got a nice run of three or four amateur events in Scotland afterwards.

“After not having much to play in over the past year, I think a lot of players will just be appreciating the opportunity to compete. Being able to play golf during the last lockdown was great, but I’ve definitely missed the competitive aspect of the game.”

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As part of her preparation for an upcoming run of events that also includes the Scottish Women’s Championship at Gullane next week, Young played against the top home-based professionals on the Tartan Pro Tour at Pollok last week.

“It was great to play alongside the men and get a chance to compete before the St Rule, Scottish and British Am,” she said. “I’m grateful that Paul Lawrie and the Tartan Pro Tour extended me an invite, it’s very helpful that they are giving amateurs the experience of playing in a professional environment.”

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While Young finished playing college golf at the University of Missouri in 2018, she decided to stay on an extra year to do a Masters and get further accounting qualifications.

“It was a fabulous experience, I would definitely make the same decision again to go there after school,” she said. “Playing against girls that are now on the LPGA week in, week out and travelling all over the US was fantastic.

“I also only really listen to country music now, so I have my Midwestern University experience to thank for that!”

World No 100 MacGarvie is the top-ranked Scot in the 60-strong St Andrews field, followed by Chloe Goadby (131st), Penelope Brown (209th), Hannah Darling (268th) and Louise Duncan (269th).

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Others aiming to land another Scottish success in the tournament include newly-crowned East Lothian champion Tara McTaggart, Eilidh Briggs, Grace Crawford and Aboyne duo Carmen Griffiths and Shannon McWilliam.

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