Louise Duncan bidding to become first Scot in 24 years to win Women's Amateur
Hopes of a first all-Scottish final in the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship in 24 years were agonisingly dashed on a dramatic penultimate day at Kilmarnock (Barassie).
West Kilbride’s Louise Duncan beat Broomieknowe 17-year-old Hannah Darling at the 19th hole in their semi-final clash to become the first Scot to reach the 36-hole title decider since Kelsey MacDonald in 2010.
But her opponent will be Icelander Johanna Lea Ludviksdottir after she fought back from being three down with just five holes to play to beat Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam at the first extra hole in the other last-four clash.
A first all-Caledonian final since Alison Rose beat Mhairi McKay at Cruden Bay in 1997 looked to be on the cards after McWilliam won four holes in a row around the turn only to lose the upper hand after running up four double-bogeys over the closing stretch.
Duncan, who led the qualifiers in last week’s Scottish Women’s Championship at Gullane but was unable to sustain that form in the match-play stage, birdied the 19th to get the better of compatriot Darling.
“It was a great match against a class player in Hannah, so I’m absolutely delighted,” said Duncan. On making the final in her home county, she added: “I can’t quite believe it.
“I’ll go home and make some dinner and go straight to bed, get as much sleep as I can as it’s been a long week.”
Duncan is bidding to become the 17th Scot to land the coveted title while Ludviksdottir has a chance of creating history as the first Icelandic winner.
‘’I’ll be giving it my all,” said Duncan. “This is one of the biggest competitions I’ve ever played in, and I can’t wait to get going tomorrow.”
The winner will secure spots in this year’s AIG Women’s Open and Evian Championship, as well as next year’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur and US Women’s Open.
“It’s mental,” said Duncan of those added incentives. “But I’m just going to have to play each shot as it comes and hopefully get the job done.”