Hannah Darling leads South Carolina to victory on her US college debut
Hannah Darling made a sensational start to her US college career by leading the University of South Carolina to victory in an event in Minnesota on her debut.
The young Scot carded rounds of 66-73-66 for an 11-under-par total in the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M at Royal Golf Club, Minnesota’s premier public course in Lake Elmo.
That earned her second place in the individual standings, one shot behind Julia Johnson of Ole Miss after she signed for rounds of 67-67-70.
But, thanks mainly to Darling’s efforts, the University of South Carolina swept to a seven-shot success in the team event over Duke, with Wake Forest two shots further back in third.
“I played great this week, but I also had a few mistakes and that is what I’ll be working on to get ready for the next event, the Windy City Collegiate Classic,” said the Broomieknowe member.
Darling won the Girls’ Amateur Championship in one of her final events before heading to the US and the Broomieknowe player hit the ground running for her new team.
She carded six birdies in a bogey-free opening effort before recovering from a bad start to round two, having dropped five shots in the first seven holes, to salvage a gutsy one-over par score.
In the final circuit, she picked up three birdies in the opening five holes before dropping her only shot of the day at the par-4 sixth but then adding gains at the ninth, 12th, 13th and 18th.
It was a brilliant all-round effort from the two-time Scottish Girls’ champion, who chose the “Gamecocks” over Stanford for this exciting next chapter in her career.
“I’m loving it over here, it’s so different but in a good way,” said Darling. “The team is great and so supportive, such a great environment to be part of.”
Earlier in the year, she said of the move: “I spoke to quite a few universities before narrowing it down and speaking to people on the phone.
“South Carolina was one of the first universities to get in touch with me and I remember when I first met the coach there at the European Championships a few years ago she told me that I had the best swing she’d ever seen.
“I went on visits in February to South Carolina, Stanford and Florida State. We went to South Carolina first and, as soon as we got there, I liked the feel of everything - the team, the coaches and the support staff as well.
“Everything was brilliant. There was nothing that I was worried about not being right for me. They were ranked No 1 in America last season and it’s a really good opportunity for me.”