Tuesday, May 18, 2004



Iowa State University student Louise Kenney today rediscovered the secret of scoring well when she least expected it - under the pressure of the first qualifying round of the Scottish women's amateur championship with a strong westerly wind blowing over the ancient and potentially awesome Prestwick links.
With the clubhouse and car park awash with tales of players' calamities from countless out of bounds excursions, visits to bottomless bunkers shored up with railway sleepers and rough with a capital "R," 21-year-old Louise came sailing in serenely with a two-under-par 73 (35-38).
The Pitreavie player, a former Scottish girls champion, was one of only seven players to break 80 over the club women's course extended for the tournament by more than 400yd to just under 6,000yd by the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association.
Louise led at the end of the first day by four shots from Curtis Cup first reserve, 23-year-old Lynn Kenny (Stirling University) from Dunblane.
"I played well all season on the American college circuit but just didn't get the scores I felt I deserved," she said later. "So there was no way I expected to score two under par over a course like this. With the wind, it was tough going at times but, for the first time in many months, everything fell into place for me.
"I birded the second, third, eighth and ninth and was two under par at the turn, having bogeyed the fifth and sixth. Then I got nine straight pars on the inward half. The only time I nearly dropped a shot coming home was at the 17th where I landed in the gorse with my second shot. But I hacked out on to the green and holed an 18ft putt for a par."
Lynn Kenny was also mildly surprised to return a 77, which was a very respectable score at two over par.
"I played sloppy golf out there but I scrambled well. It seemed to be a cross wind at every hole, going out and coming in, and I struggled to judge the strength of shots from about the 50 or 60yd range," said Lynn.
"It's the kind of course that I think you have to play a lot of times before you really know it and begin to play it well consistently. Most of the field, like me, have played one practice round before going straight in at the deep end."
Miss Kenny, with the Scottish veteran women's champion as her caddie - her mother, Cecilia, birdied the 13th and 16th to cancel out two of the bogeys she had at the fifth, ninth, 11th and 18th in halves of 39 and 38.
In third place was Royal Dornoch's Cara Gruber with a 79, despite bogeying four of the first five holes.
Kelsey Macdonald (Nairn Dunbar), the youngest and smallest competitor in the field, had a championship debut to remember by birdieng the last three holes for a 79 to share fourth place with the far more experienced Fiona Lockhart (St Regulus), Pam Mackay (Royal Dornoch) and Heather MacRae (Dunblane), just back from California where she plays for the San Diego State University team.
Defending champion Anne Laing (Vale of Leven) was joint eighth on 80 with Sara Bishop (Windyhill), champion of Dunbartonshire & Argyll for the past two years, and Scottish girls champion Kelly Brotherton (Tulliallan).
Title-holder Anne, a lecturer at Elmwood College, Cupar, was seven over par after 11 holes but she birdied the 13th (two putts from 60ft), the 14th (holing a 40ft putt from off the green) and the 16th (driving the green at this 245yd hole with a three-wood) to finish the day at five over par after a three-putt bogey at the 17th.
Arguably the most surprising score of the day - next to Louise Kenney's 73 - was a 14-over-par 89 by Curtis Cup reserve Clare Queen (Strathclyde University).
"I had three 7s on my cards, one triple bogey and three double bogeys in all. I have nightmare halves of 46 and 43. It was just one of those days when everything went wrong. I was out of bounds twice," said the former British girls match-play and stroke-play champion from Drumpellier.
In terms of bullseye accuracy, the shot of the day was achieved by Kim Horne (Dalmahoy) who aced the 175yd 11th hole on her way to a round of 81. Kim achieved her first ever hole in one with a five-wood. What a time and a place to do it!
The 32 players with the lowest 36-hole aggregates at the end of the second qualifying round will go forward to the match-play stages.