Aboyne 15-year-old Shannon McWilliam led field until the last few holes before finishing third in the prestigious Helen Holm Scottish women's open amateur stroke-play championship on a very windy day over the testing Royal Troon links

McWilliam had never seen the course or the Troon Portland lay-out, over which the first two rounds were played until she arrived on Friday morning and stepped on the first tee.

To lead the field for a long, long time over the 5hr final round, as McWilliam, did was an astonishing performance considering she had not played a practice round over what has been an Open championship venue since 1923.

Northern Ireland’s Olivia Mahaffey, only 17 years old, surged past the tiring Aboyne player with a final round 75 for a four-over-par aggregate of 220.

McWilliam, one behind overnight after rounds of 71 and 72 over Troon Portland, had taken the lead with birdies at the fifth and sixth and she was still one ahead with six holes to play.

But Shannon, who had run up a double bogey 7 at the 11th, had a double bogey 6 at the 13th and three bogeys in a row from the 15th to the 17th and 43 shots for the inward half added up to a 79 for six-over 222.

Winner of the SLGA women's Champion of Champions tournament at Glasgow Gailes in March, and second in the SLGA Under-16 Open stroke-play at Strathmore and joint third in the Irish Under-18 girls' open stroke-play just over a week ago, it has been a remarkable few weeks for Shannon who last year became Aberdeenshire's youngest every women's county champion. She also won the county girls time last season. No player has ever held both titles at the same time.

Explaining her lack of a practice round over either Troon Portland or Royal Troon, the Aboyne Academy fourth year student said: “I didn’t want to take time off school. Mum and I just drove down from Aboyne to Ayrshire early on Friday morning for the start of the tournament. It was the first time I had seen either of the courses. At that stage, I never thought I would finish third. But now I am a wee bit disappointed. But it was the strongest wind I have ever played in.”

Mahaffey, an Irish women's international and a GB and I Junior Vagliano Trophy team player at Chantilly in 2013, arrived at Troon on a high, having, only a few days previously, won the Irish Under-18 girls' open title. The Royal Co Down GC member admitted that it had been a tough final round and patience was the key. She finished on four over par 220, with French 18-year-old Anais Meyssonnier in second place on 221 after a 78 and McWilliam on 222.

“The last six holes were brutal,” said Mahaffey “But I am delighted. This is my first women's international event, definitely the best thing I’ve won so far. In the autumn, I am going to Arizona State University and eventually, I want to turn professional.”

Linnea Strom, the World No 3 female amateur from Sweden who led by one going into the final round, had an 82, including 45 shots for Royal Troon's inward half, and tied for fourth place on 224.

McWilliam had raised hopes of becoming the first home winner since Heather Stirling in 2002 – but the wait goes on for another year. But a spin-off for Shannon from this splendid performance will surely be a place in the GB and I Junior Vagliano Trophy team of six to play the Continent of Europe Under-16s at Malone Golf Club, Belfast in June.

Ireland scored a double whammy with Mehaffey not only winning the individual championship but combining with Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) to lift the international team trophy.

CREDIT: CAL CARSON GOLF AGENCY

HELEN HOLM SCOTTISH WOMEN'S OPEN AMATEUR STROKE-PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Troon Portland Rounds 1-2. Royal Troon Round 3

FINAL TOTALS
Par 216 (3x72). SSS 77 77 77 CSS 77 77 78
220 Olivia Mehaffey (Royal Co Down Ladies) 72 73 75
221 Anais Meysonnier (Fra) 72 71 78
222 Shannon McWilliam (Aboyne) 71 72 79
224 Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest) 74 78 72, Inci Mehmet (Royal Mid Surrey) 69 78 77, Aagathe Laisne (Fra) 71 76 77, Linnea Strom (Swe) 68 74 82
226 Sophie Lamb (Cliutheroe) 73 75 78, Jae Bowers (Prestbury) 68 78 80
227 Eloise Healey (W Lancs) 74 77 76, Annabel Bailey (Kirby Muxloe) 72 78 77, Chloe Ryan (Castletroy, Ire) 73 76 78, India Clyburn (Woodhall Spa) 73 76 78, Hollie Muse (W Lancs) 68 77 82
228 Nia Greville (Ashburnham) 74 78 76
229 Virginia Carta (Italy) 76 77 76, Chloe Williams (Wrexham) 73 79 77. Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe) 78 74 77, Sophie Keech (Parkstone) 73 78 78, Anyssia Herbaut (Fra) 74 75 80, Michaela Finn (Swe) 75 74 80, Nastja Banovec (Slovenia) 76 73 80
230 Sharna Dutrieux (Wrotham Heath) 79 79 72, Poppy Finlay (Vicars Cross) 73 81 76, Bethan Popel (Long Ashton) 74 79 77, Mary Doyle (The Heath, Ire) 76 77 77, Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 73 78 79
231 Katrina Gillum (Lilleshall Hall) 73 80 78, Paula Grant (Lisburn), 76 76 79, Emma Svensson (Swe) 72 79 80, Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) 73 78 80, Elisabeth Codet (Fra) 73 76 82
232 Lou Vrain (Fra) 80 77 75, Elizabeth Price (Burhill) 81 76 75, Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) 73 80 79
233 Isobel Wardle (Prestbury) 77 81 75, Emily Slater (Woodhall Spa) 78 79 78, Elise Genoux (Fra) 72 82 79, Orphee Bugnard (Fra) 75 78 80
234 Chloe Frankish (Charthills) 78 76 80, Olivia Winning (Rotherham) 77 75 82, Marion Veysseyre (Fra) 73 77 84
235 Louise Macgregor (Falkirk) 78 79 78, Bethany Garton (Royal Lytham) 80 75 80, Gillian Paton (Royal Montrose) 72 81 82,
236 Chloe Salort (Fra) 76 82 78, Chloe Caron (Fra) 81 77 78, Mathilde Claisse (Fra) 77 73 86
237 Jennifer Saxton (Kinross) 71 87 79, Alice Barnes (W Sussex) 74 84 79, Martha Lewis (St George's Hill 77 80 80, Jessica Bailey (Kirby Muxloe) 76 79 82
238 Hannah McCook (Grantown on Spey) 75 83 80, Gemma Batty Powfoot) 76 82 80, Jessica Ross (Donaghdee) 76 81 81, Kimberley Beveridge (Aboyne) 75 80 83, Joanne Free (Gullane) 77 78 83
239 Ludovica Farina (Ita) 78 78 83, Luan Skeates (Buckinghamshire) 78 78 83, Bronwyn Davies (Wolstanton) 72 83 84
240 Ellie Goodall (Selby) 75 83 82, Louisa Brunt (Royal Birkdale) 76 82 82, Hazel MacGarvie (Troon Ladies) 70 79 91
241 Gabrielle MacDonald (Craigielaw) 78 80 83, Bethan Morris (Tenby) 73 79 89
242 Natasha Slater (Furness) 78 80 84
244 Lauren Horsford (Wimbledon Park) 78 80 86
248 Tara Mactaggart (Minto) 76 81 91
Retired: Sammy Fuller (Roehampton) 74 82 ret (after 15)

INTERNATIONAL TEAM EVENT
447 Ireland: O Mehaffey 220. C Ryan 227
451 England: G Clews 224. I Clyburn 227
455 Sweden: L Strom 224. E Svensson 231.
458 France: A Laisne 224. M Veysseyre 234.
479 Scotland: H McCook 238. G MacDonald 241
DNQ Wales: C Birks 229, S Birks missed cut


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