Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Shannon (17) keeps the home flag flying on a

very wet day at Balgownie

Shannon McWilliam, pictured, 17-year-old Aboyne Golf Club junior member, kept the home flag flying on one of the wettest first day's plau in living memory at the 103rd Scottish women's amateur golf championship at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club.
It was raining when play started at 8.30am and it still had not stopped when play finished in the first qualifying round at 5.30pm.
Across the River Don at the King's Links, and even at the neighbouring Murcar Links, flooded fairways and greens ruled out Pennant League matches but the Balgowie links coped splendidly with the steady downpour.
The greenkeeping staff, with some help from such worthies as Scottish Golf head of events Fraser Munro from Kinross and rules referee Liz Munro from Lossiemouth - "I've never worn Wellington boots all day on a golf course before!," squeejeed away what excess water there was to be seen, particularly at the sixth and eighth greens.
At the end of the day, none of the field of 70 players - there were four withdrawals, including Ayrshire rising star Hazel MacGarvie - no one had managed to equal the par of 76 over a course of just over 6,000yd.
Stirling student Chloe Goadby (St Regulus Ladies), 19, set the clubhouse target of one-over 77 before lunchtime and it was only near the end of play that she was joined in the lead by 20-year-old Emma Hale (Troon Ladies).
Shannon McWilliam, Jennifer Saxton (Muckhart) and Royal Montrose's Gillian Paton are sharing third place on 78.
At the end of the second qualifying round, the leading 32 players will advance to the championship's match-play stages, the final of which is on Saturday. The next 16 available on the leaderboard will contest the Clark Rosebowl match-play competition.
McWilliam thought it was the wettest day she had ever played golf - "I've played in worse rain but not rain like this that simply never stopped. At least it wasn't cold. If the weather forecast is right, now we have high winds to look forward to in the second round."
McWilliam, who is not going to accept any of the offers she has had to go to an American university, bogeyed the 16th and 17th when pars would have given her the overnight lead. Not that she was upset by these late slips which gave her halves of 40 and 38 against the par of 39 and 37.
Hannah McCook (Grantown on Spey) had an 82 with halves of 41. Her inward scorecard contained three birdies, one double bogey 7, and five bogeys: a mixed bad indeed.