Friday, May 21, 2004



Title-holder Anne Laing, under pressure from Sara Bishop in the semi-finals over Prestwick Golf Club's ancient links on Friday afternoon, turned on the style to win her way through to her fifth final in the past eight years of the Scottish women's amateur golf championship.
In this morning's (Sat) 18-hole final, Anne, 29-year-old lecturer at Elmwood College, Cupar, will play Scotland international team-mate and championship debutante, Clare Queen of Strathclyde University and Drumpellier.
Anne beat Miss Bishop by 2 and 1 and that was also the margin of Clare's win over Martine Pow (Selkirk), beaten in the semi-finals for the second year but surely the 39-year-old Borderer has done enough this time to win a first cap for Scotland in the home internationals.
Anne Laing, champion in 1996 and 2003 and beaten finalist in 1999 and 2002, was two down after only three holes to Sara Bishop (Windyhill), her foursomes partner in the Dunbartonshire & Argyll county team.
Still one down after eight holes, Anne suddenly pulled five birdies in a row out of the hat from the ninth. The first four catapulted her into a three-hole lead and the fifth, at the 13th, earned her a half.
"I got 'in the zone' that is every golfer's dream. It's a magic spell when drives hit the fairway, approach shots hit the green and birdie putts drop like clockwork. The last time I got in that zone was, curiously enough, in last year's semi-final over the Old Course against Martine Pow," said Ann.
The purple patch virtually ended what had been a tight contest. Anne lost the 15th with a poor drive which found a bad lie but she halved the 16th and 17th to close out her friend and opponent.
For the 17 holes, Miss Laing was three under par and she feels that as she has gained more knowledge of the Prestwick links, so her game has improved.
"OK, so it's my fifth final but I am still as excited as I was on the eve of my first at Royal Dornoch against Alison Rose," said Anne. "I may look and seem calm but inside me there's a lot of jumping beans."
Martine Pow won a memorable morning quarter-final at the 19th against Pam Feggans (Doon Valley). The Ayrshire 21-year-old had eight birdies, including six in a row from the eighth, but still she lost to Martine who holed a wedge approach for an eagle 2 at the fourth and had a clutch of birdies herself, including a 30ft putt at the first extra hole. for a 3 to end Miss Feggans' challenge.
Even though she jumped into an early two-hole lead in the semi-final against Clare Queen, Martine must have wished later that she had saved some birdies up for the afternoon proceedings.
Miss Pow was one up after 12 holes but her driving began to get more and more erratic, finding the rough, left and right, too often to hold at bay a player of Clare's calibre. Miss Queen, outdriving her opponent by up to 60yd in the closing stages, suddenly got her game to click into gear to win three holes in a row - and suddenly the tie was over.
The 21-year-old Clare squared the match with a par 4 at the 15th, went one up with a two-putt birdie at the 16th after a big drive and then smashed a tee shot almost 300yd down the 17th to set up a cast-iron par 4 while Martine went through the back of the green and took three to get down.
Clare was roughly three over par at the finish.
"I missed a lot of putts. The pace of the greens I found difficult to judge and I put pressure on myself with that. But I have got out of jail right from the start of this championship - coming through a play-off to get into the match-play, coming back from two down with four to play against Lynn Kenny and winning at the 19th against Jenna Wilson," said Clare.
Stirling University student Dawn Dewar from Monifieth won the Clark Rosebowl tournament for the leading non-qualifiers for the match-play stages of the championship. She won the final by 3 and 2 over Donna Pocock, who was bidding to become the second Murcar player in successive years to win the trophy. Clubmate Sjavon Wilson won it at the Old Course last year.
Dawn was three up at the turn but lost the 12th and did not clinch her victory until the 16th.