Sunday, June 11, 2017

Blairgowrie comes in from the cold next year as Royal Aberdeen gets thumbs up for warm welcome

                 Blairgowrie GC clubhouse
Scottish Golf tournament director Conor Finlay has pencilled in Blairgowrie's Lansdowne course as the venue for the 104th Scottish women's amateur championship in June next year.
Hard to believe, given the Perthshire town's "heart of Scotland" location - easily accessed by competitors from all points on the compass - Blairgowrie has never staged this championship in the past 103 years.
Connie Jaffrey (Troon Ladies) will certainly be there to defend the title she won at rainy Royal Aberdeen Golf Club on Saturday and, Clara Young (North Berwick), who staged an amazing mid-round fightback from five down after 10 to all square after 15 before losing the 16th and 18th to go down by two holes, will also be in the 2018 Blairgowrie field.
Both 20-year-old students at universities in the United States, they were the two class players at Balgownie where the gallery for the final included two former Scottish champions - Michele Thomson, who won the title at Lossiemouth in 2008, and Great Britain and Ireland team captain Elaine Farquharson-Black who was champion at Machrihanish in 1990 but lost to Janice Moodie when the championship was last played at Royal Aberdeen 25 years ago.
Too late for Jaffrey and Young to make the Vagliano Trophy team to be captained by Elaine in Italy at the end of this month but selection for next year's Curtis Cup match at Quaker Ridge, New York State is a distinct possibility, particularly if they have good runs in this week's British women's open amateur championship at Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club in South Wales.
One final word about Royal Aberdeen - a club criticised periodically for having no female members - hosting the Scottish women's amateur championship.
The Balgownie club gave over its clubhouse, locker rooms, toilets and all!,  to all the female competitors, caddies and camp followers.
There were no reservations in the Royal Aberdeen welcome and both finalists felt very much at home there.
"What a superb course and it stayed in excellent condition despite the rain almost every day" said Clara Young. "I had never played it before this week but I would love to come back."
+Royal Aberdeen's next big occasion is the British men's amateur championship next June.

Royal Aberdeen GC clubhouse and pro's shop to the right. Picture by Cal Carson Golf Agency.