Thursday, January 26, 2012


CHEERS for the new British champion! Moira Paterson, seated on right, at the post-final victory celebrations in the clubhouse.
Moira Milton, who won the Ladies British Open amateur championship at Troon in 1952 as Moira Paterson and played in the victorious GB and I Curtis Cup team at Muirfield later that year, died on Tuesday night in a Wells, Somerset nursing home.
Born in 1923 at Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway, she had her 88th birthday in December. She is survived by her husband John Milton who is 93.
Liz Pook, who won the British title in 1966 and 1967 as Elizabeth Chadwick, said last night: "Moira was without doubt the most modest British champion I have ever known."
In 1952 scheduled 36-hole final at Troon - it didn't become "Royal Troon" until 1978, Moira, then 28 and a gym teacher at Kirkintilloch, beat former champion Frances (Bunty) Stephens (Birkdale) at the 38th hole.
The match, watched by a gallery of at least 2,000, lasted seven hours - the longest British final on record. Considerng Moira had hurt her back earlier in the tournament and had to have daily treatment from a doctor, it was a performance of true grit by the lass who grew up in Lenzie, Glasgow.
Liz Pook recalls: "Moira was five down not only once before lunch, but by never giving up, Moira went into lunch three down. Then straight away after lunch she went five down again, before over the next 16 holes she whittled Bunty's lead down before she squared the match on the 36th green and when she won on the 38th, by holing a 2ft putt, it was the first time in the entire match that she was up. Amazing I believe!"
Moira five down with only 11 holes to play before staging a remarkable comeback to square the contest at the 36th and then win at the second extra hole.
In the Curtis Cup match that year at Muirfield, Moira Paterson was a member of the GB and I team who scored a famous 5-4 win over the United States. It was the first victory in the series, which started in 1932, by Great Britain and Ireland.
Other Scots in the team were Jessie Valentine and Jean Donald. Caption for picture of the team (by courtesy of Gillian Kirkwood) on right:
Back row (left to right): Philomena Garvey, Frances Stephens, Jessie Valentine, Moira Paterson, Elizabeth Price.
Front row (l to r): Jean Donald, Lady Katherine Cairns (team captain), Kitty McCann, Jeanne Bisgood.
Moira also toured South Africa with a team of British players. They left Britain on September 6, 1951 and did not return until just before Christmas. Worldwide travel took a good bit longer by boat before the flying age.
 She played for GBandI against France in 1949 and 50, and also for GB&I against Belgium in the same years. Moira played for Scotland in the Women’s Home Internationals of 1949-50-51-52. She also played for Scotland against Australia in 1949.
She played out of Gullane Golf Club in the 1952 British final and later was made an honorary member of Gullane. She was also an honorary member of Lenzie GC. Moira was also at one time a member of Turnhouse GC.
She lived at Barnton, Edinburgh before moving to the south of England with her husband John C Milton.
Moira, runner-up in the French women’s open amateur championship of 1949 was a contemporary of Scottish legends Helen Holm, Jean Donald, Jessie Valentine which perhaps explains why she never won the "Scottish."
In the 1950 Scottish women’s amateur championship over the Old Course, St Andrews, Moira was beaten in the semi-finals – either by Helen Holm or the redoubtable Charlotte Beddows who contested the final.
In 1951, Moira Paterson reached the final of the Scottish championship at Nairn but was beaten 3 and 2 by Jessie Valentine.

1949 Dunbartonshire women's county champion
1960 East of Scotland women's champion.
1962 Midlothian women's county champion.