Young gracious in defeat as McKechin claims crown

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CLASSY Clara Young refused to blame a headache for her defeat in the final of the Scottish Women’s Championship at Longniddry, writes MARTIN DEMPSTER.

The 16-year-old’s bid to become the event’s youngest winner was thwarted as Elderslie’s Alyson McKechin won the 18-hole final 3 and 2.

“I had a bit of a migraine,” reported North Berwick’s Young afterwards, “but I think that was down to just concentrating so hard while the light was also a bit funny out there.”

Dazzled by sunshine on Friday, it was overcast from the off in the title showdown before turning downright nasty by the denouement.

After the opening two holes were halved, 19-year-old McKechin then won four out of the next five holes as her opponent struggled to fight a constant push off the tee.

“I hit it good on the range this morning but for some reason I didn’t take that out on the course,” admitted Young afterwards. “I was nervous, but I don’t think it was down to that I lost. To be fair to Alyson, she played well.”

McKechin, in fact, hit only one slack shot – a poor approach to the eight – as she covered the front nine in two-under to be five up.

Young won her first hole at the tenth, where her opponent three-putted, only to return the favour at the next. After winning the 13th, 14th and 15th, the East Lothian champion started to sniff a memorable fightback but a bunkered tee shot at the short 16th killed off that momentum.

“At the start, Alyson really put a lot of pressure on me and it was only at the end, when the weather was getting worse, that I started to play a bit better but she was just too far ahead,” said Young.

“It’s been a good week as I’d gladly have taken reaching the final at the start of the week. There’s always next year and I’m already looking forward to Prestwick in 12 months time.”

It was back to Higher exams for the North Berwick High School pupil today but she’s also hoping to make her presence felt in the forthcoming St Rule Trophy at St Andrews.

“Then I’m off to the German Girls, which is a counter for the Junior Solheim Cup,” reported Young, who, along with McKechin, admitted it had been pleasing to see Catriona Matthew out watching the final.