Thursday, May 22, 2003


BRITISH mid-amateur women's golf champion Anne Laing from Vale of Leven, a 28-year-old lecturer at Elmwood College, Cupar, is through to meet 26-year-old Claire Hargan (Prestonfield), the Midlothian county champion and a trainee actuary in Edinburgh, in this morning's (Friday) 18-hole final of the Centenary Scottish women's amateur championship over the Old Course, St Andrews.
For second seed Anne it will be a fourth appearance in the final of her native championship. Her record at the moment is played three, won one, lost two. She won the title at Royal Dornoch in 1996, but lost in the finals at Nairn Dunbar in 1999 and again at Machrihanish 12 months ago.
For ninth qualifier Claire, it will be a new experience to figure in the Scottish final. The nearest she has got in the past was to be a beaten semi-finalist at West Kilbride in 1997.
The finalists have only once met before in a match-play tie. That was in a British Universities women's championship of a few years back when Anne beat Claire at the 19th. A similar close contest is very much on the cards with the Centenary Scottish title at stake.
Miss Hargan's big win on the penultimate day of the championship was to claim the scalp of the leading qualifier and 2000 champion, Lynn Kenny by 4 and 3 in the quarter-finals. Two eagles, two birdies and three-under-par figures were required to lower the colours of the Stirling University student.
Then, in the afternoon semi-finals, the 6ft Claire played like a colossus with remarkable six-under-par figures to beat Iowa State University student Laura Wells from Dumfries by 5 and 4 in 2 1/2hr play.