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Laura takes scratch championship trophy in Ladies' Highland Open at Pitlochry

By Contributor

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Laura with her trophy as scratch champion.
Laura with her trophy as scratch champion.

Thurso Golf Club's Laura Durrand won the Atholl Cup as scratch champion in the Ladies' Highland Open at Pitlochry.

She was one of four Thurso players who took part in the annual event, the others being Anne Simmonite, Aileen Simmonite and Emma Durrand.

The tournament is played over six days with daily competitions. On the first day everyone plays for the Starters' Cup – this is a strokeplay format and gives everyone a chance to familiarise themselves with the course before the main competition.

It was a great start for Laura, who came first gross, and Emma, who finished second nett.

Next came the two qualifying rounds where the top 16 players in each category, scratch, Division One handicap (handicaps up to 20) and Division Two handicap (21 and over), go through to the matchplay rounds for a chance to become the 2022 champions.

Although Anne improved each day, she just missed out on qualifying. But both Laura and Emma qualified for the scratch trophy, Laura in third place and Emma in 10th, while Aileen qualified for the Division One trophy in seventh place.

Aileen put up a good fight against Shona Hutchison from Dunnikier Park Golf Club but a lost ball at the 16th and a missed putt on the 17th saw her just miss out on progressing to the next round, losing 2&1.

Emma also had a good fight on her hands against Kay Knight from Pitlochry. The home advantage proved too much for Emma and she was beaten on the 18th.

Laura’s golf went from strength to strength throughout the week. Her first match was against Jill Telford from South Herts Golf Club.

Jill played some impressive golf but Laura was too good for her, winning 5&4 on the 14th.

Deborah Pooley from Banstead Downs Golf Club was next up and she really tested Laura’s golf before eventually losing to her on the 19th hole.

Now came the semi-final against Kay Knight, who had already beaten Emma, but that didn’t put Laura off. She was playing well and was three up after the 12th when her opponent had to withdraw due to injury.

Laura was disappointed they couldn’t finish the match but it did mean she could have a slightly longer rest before going out to play in the final.

Isla Moncrieff from Aberfeldy Golf Club was the other finalist and it was a very close match throughout.

Laura was one up after the 15th but a poor tee shot on the 16th saw them back to all square. They halved the 17th with two great birdies so it was all to play for on the 18th.

Laura had a great drive down the middle of the fairway, stopping just before the burn. Isla had a good drive as well but ended up in the rough.

Laura was first to play her second shot and landed it beautifully on the edge of the green. Isla’s approach shot was slightly long and ran off the back of the green, but she wasn’t giving up.

She chipped on and the crowd thought it was all over as the ball ran straight across the hole – but it kept going, leaving her a long putt.

Laura kept her cool and putted her ball to just a few inches of the hole which she easily tapped in for a four. Isla put up a great fight but couldn’t get her putt in to keep the match going, meaning Laura won on the 18th hole.

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