Clara Young (North Berwick) beat fellow American college student Rachel Walker (Dumfries & County) by one hole in a classic match-play climax to the 101st Scottish women's amateur golf championship at Monifieth Links.

Eighteen-year-old Young, who has just completed her freshman year at the University of Missouri, and Walker, 21 earlier this month and halfway through a four-year course at Old Dominion University, Virginia, combined to produce a memorable final.

The better ball was an incredible nine under par with Young totalling five birdies to an eagle and four birdies by Walker.

Young is the youngest winner of the title since Jane Connachan was champion in 1982 and the first North Berwick national champion since Catriona Matthew won the title in 1991, 1992 and 1994.
Of the two finalists, the winner was more subued after it was all over, almost as though she had not come out of her cocoon of concentration.

"I won the first three holes which is the kind of start you dream about but after that I just focused on the next shot so I had no real idea the scoring by both of us was so good," said Clara who was East Lothian's youngest ever women's county champion at 15 and a GB and I Junior Vagliano Trophy team player at 16.

In contrast, Rachel Walker had plenty to say: "I thought I would be disappointed if I lost the final but in fact I feel rather pleased with the way I was able to fight myself back to all square several times after going three down very quickly," said Rachel, who reached the quarter-finals last year.

"Bunkers eventually cost me my chance of being Scottish champion this year. I had to play out sideways from a bunker in losing the 16th which put me one down. Then, after a birdie on 17th to get back to all square, I was in two bunkers at the 18th and there was no way I could match Clara's winning, two-putt birdie 4."

Young finished the 18 holes in an approximate three-under-par 70 shots to Walker's two-under 71.
Young was three up on the fourth tee after starting birdie-birdie-bogey and winning all three holes.
But Walker holed a 25ft putt for a winning eagle 3 at the fourth - and the battle royal was on!

Another birdie from Walker cut her deficit to one at the eight and a par was good enough for the Doonhamer to square the contest at the ninth. Young edged ahead again at the 10th but back came Walker with the first of two birdie 2s. This one, after a six iron tee shot to with 2ft of the flagstick levelled it again.

The battle of the birdies continued with Young winning the 13th with a three to go one up again - and Walker getting another birdie 2 at the short 14th to be back on level terms.

Bunker trouble cost Walker the 16th and she slipped one down. But she was not ready to throw in the towel. Rachel played a magnificent approach shot with a 50 degree wedge and was conceded a birdie 3 at the 17th for this classic encounter to be all square on the 18th tee.

Then, crucially Walker, trying to fade her drive from left to right on to the fairway instead hit it straight, the ball ending up in a bunker on the left edge of the fairway. Walker put her third shot into a pin-high greenside bunker and came out from there to about 8ft past the pin in four.

Meantime, Young had hit a good drive down the fairway and smacked a long iron on to the green at this par-5 hole. She rolled her approach putt dead from about 25ft for her fifth birdie of the day, winning the hole, the match and the Scottish title.

Clara Young (North Berwick) bt Rachel Walker (Dumfries & County) 1 hole.

Photograph: Rachel Walker on left and Clara Young on the right


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