Monday, May 18, 2015

Shannon McWilliam (only 15) has great chance

 to become youngest ever Scottish champion 


Aboyne 15-year-old Shannon McWilliam, by what she has achieved so far over this season and last, is already a certainty for selection to the Great Britain and Ireland team of six for the Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Malone Golf Club, Belfast on June 26-27.
Were Shannon, pictured, to become the youngest ever winner of the Scottish women's amateur  championship at Monifieth Links this week she could find herself promoted to the GB and I WOMEN'S team of nine for the Vagliano Trophy match which ranks second only to the Curtis Cup in the international team golf calendar.
Runner-up this year in the SLGA Under-16 open stroke-play and again in the Irish U18 girls' open championship, McWilliam surpassed all that with her performance against a strong international field in the Helen Holm Scottish women's open amateur stroke-play at Troon last month.
Always in the mix, McWilliam was leading with only six holes to go in the 54-hole event before the closing holes at Royal Troon - always a tough proposition into the wind - knocked her back into a still highly creditable third-place finish, all the more meritorious in that she had not played a practice round over either of the Troon courses.
Shannon is a rare talent and getting better and better at a speedy  rate.

GB and I captain Elaine Farquharson-Black, who was Catriona (Lambert) Matthew's foursomes partner in Curtis Cup and Vagliano Trophy matches, says:
"I watched Shannon in action at Troon and she reminds me of Catriona in her address position and powerful striking of the ball."
McWilliam, who lost to Scotland cap Eilidh Briggs in the second round on her debut in the championship at Prestwick last year, says:
"I won the Lyon Salver for the best nett score in the second qualifying round at Prestwick.  I'm really looking forward to it this week, as it's a great competition. I finishED my final exam at Aboyne Academy this morning, so I  able to relax and enjoy my practice round in the afternoon.
"I've had a fantastic start to the season so far. I'm hoping that this can continue for the rest of the season!"
The field at Monifieth is smaller than usual - only 66 following today's withdrawal by Carnoustie's Jess Meek, last year's St Rule Trophy winner and Scottish U21 girls champion in 2013,  with a wrist injury -  of whom 13 hail from the North or North-east:
Kimberley Beveridge (Aboyne), Rachel Polson (Peterculter), Ellie Whyte (Aberdeen Ladies), Sheena Wood (Aberdeen Ladies), Fiona Hay (Deeside), Tegan Seivwright (Murcar Links), Molly Stewart (Murcar Links), Carol Wilson (Murcar Links), Lynne Terry (Cruden Bay), Jill Harrison (Cruden Bay), Hannah McCook (Grantown on Spey), Cara Thompson (Royal Dornoch) and Shannon McWilliam (Aboyne).
Following two rounds of stroke-play on Tuesday and Wednesday, the top 32 players qualify for the match-play knock-out stages. The 18-hole final takes place on Saturday morning. The players ranked 33-48 from the 36-hole qualifying have the option of contesting the Clark Rosebowl.
Spectators will be made very welcome by the organising Scottish Ladies Golfing Association officials.

+Although Jane Connachan played for Scotland in the Women's Home Internationals when she was 15 and made her Curtis Cup debut for GB and I at the age of 16 1/2, she did not win the Scottish championship until 1982 when she was 18.