Revenge was sweet for Connie Jaffrey in the Scottish Women’s Championship, even though making amends for a defeat in the 2014 final left her biting her nails in the end after she’d been on course for a comfortable title triumph at Royal Aberdeen.
The 20-year-old from Kilwinning beat North Berwick’s Clara Young by two holes, heaving a huge sigh of relief as the contest concluded after she’d been five up at the turn before looking to be on the ropes as her opponent got it back to all square with three to play.
Jaffrey, a Troon Ladies member, is studying psychology at Kansas State University and that certainly came in helpful as she “composed” herself on the 16th tee, won it with a par to get her nose back in front again and, in doing so, knocked the stuffing out of her fellow 20-year-old.
“It means a lot to win this event as I’ve been trying since I don’t know for how many years,” said the new champion, smiling. “Since losing to Gabs (Gabrielle Macdonald) down the 19th at Prestwick, I’ve always wanted to redeem myself and take revenge on the tournament.”
She did so by producing what, for most of the round anyway, was a short-game masterclass, single-putting six greens on the front nine, including the first four on the magnificent Balgownie Links.
“My short game has improved loads since I first went over to the States,” admitted Jaffrey, who is three-quarters of the way through her four-year degree. “It’s definitely one of the strongest parts of my game and I certainly holed lots of putts today that saved me.
“I made it a lot harder for myself in the end than it could have been. I felt comfortable on the front nine, but then became a bit agitated and frustrated when I wasn’t playing as well on the back nine.
“I made a silly mistake at the 15th to allow Clara to get it back to level, but I said to myself on the 16th tee, ‘calm down, the match is starting all over again’ and, thankfully, being able to compose myself enabled me to go one up again straight away.”
Young, the 2015 winner but now a two-time beaten finalist, had no complaints. “All I could do after being five down was try to get back into it and I was pleased to that,” said the University of Missouri player.