Hannah Darling 'just about crying' after receiving Augusta National invitation
Hannah Darling has revealed that she was close to tears after receiving her historic invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur this year.
The 18-year-old Broomieknowe player secured her spot in the event, which concludes at Augusta National the Saturday before The Masters, by winning the R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship last year.
Along with West Kilbride’s Louise Duncan on the back of her success in the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship, the pair will become the first Scots to compete in the prestigious tournament.
As has been the tradition for The Masters, players who are eligible are sent an official invitation through the post, with Darling’s one being dispatched to the University of South Carolina, where she started a four-year scholarship last year.
“I had to go to the apartment block office to get it as it couldn’t fit in my mailbox,” she told The Scotsman.
“When I was walking back to my apartment, I was just about crying and then opening it was so crazy. Such a great feeling!
“I will probably put it on my wall in my room to remind myself of how special this event is going to be.”
As has been the case since the event was inaugurated in 2019, the opening two rounds will be played at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta on 30-31 March.
The entire field will then play a practice round ar Augusta National on 1 April, with the final round on 2 April involving the top 30 players after 36 holes.
“I’m so excited to play in this event,” added Darling, the world No 10. “It’s something I’ve been striving for since it was first played, so it’s nice to see the hard work this far paying off.
“I’m also excited for Ian Muir, my coach, to be caddying for me. This is going to be so special for both of us!”
A post by Darling on social media about receiving her invitation has been met with wide acclaim by fellow Scots.
“This is really cool!” wrote Kathryn Imrie, a winner on the LPGA Tour and one of Catriona Matthew’s assistant captains for Europe’s back-to-back Solheim Cup wins.
Referring to both Darling and Duncan, who is set to receive her invitation when she returns home from the UAE following a winter training camp with his Stirling University team-mates, she added, using a Saltire emoji in her post: “Good luck, ladies - I’ll be watching with pride.”
American Jennifer Kupcho won the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur, finishing four shots clear of Mexico’s Maria Fassi with 10-under-par 206 total.
The event didn’t take place in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but returned last year, when 17-year-old Japanese player Tsubasa Kajitani claimed victory.
Kajitani shot an even-par 72 in the final round for a one-under total before beating American Emilia Migliaccio on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off.
Northern Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey finished ninth in the 2021 edition, having also played in the first event.
The full field for the 2022 tournament is scheduled to be released by Augusta National Golf Club, the organisers, early next month.
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