France’s Isabelle Boineau overcame nerves to claim her first professional victory by a solitary shot from Linda Wessberg at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Ladies’ Open at Dundonald Links yesterday.
Nine years ago, as an 18-year-old amateur, Boineau had succumbed to the final hole shakes over the same course when she played in the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
One shot ahead after a birdie from ten feet at the 17th, scary memories of 2007 came flooding back and a mis-hit second shot at the long 18th was close to plopping into the burn guarding the green.
But then the golfing gods smiled on the 27-year-old from Marseilles. She chipped on to the putting surface and heaved a sigh of relief when Swede Wessberg missed from four feet for birdie.
From around the same range, Boineau then holed for par, a round of 68 and the one shot triumph on 11-under par 205.
Wessberg, aiming to emulate Henrik Stenson’s win in the Open at Royal Troon a week earlier, had to settle for a 69 and second place.
“When I took the lead I was shaking and I was very nervous towards the end,” said Boineau. “I was in front at the 18th back in 2007 and then pushed my second shot close to the water and I could only finish second. I didn’t want to do it again.
“The key this week was my putting. I had 28 in the first round, 27 in the second and only 26 today. In the first round I holed a shot from 70 yards and that helps the statistics.”
In addition to the £62,000 winner’s cheque, an additional reward for Boineau is a place in the women’s major in her home country in September, the Evian Championship.
Wessberg, who gave birth to her daughter Sigrid last September, had mixed emotions. “It feels kind of shitty just now, but I’ll be OK tomorrow,” she said.
“I was really happy with the way I played all week.”
American Beth Allen, pictured inset, who has lived in Edinburgh for several years and married Scotland’s former British Open Strokeplay Champion, Clare Queen, last weekend, also had her chance of a first professional victory. She packed eight birdies into a round played in pouring rain, but a three-putt bogey at the 18th for a 67 ended her hopes and she had to settle for a share of third on nine under par with the luckless Becky Morgan.
At 41, Morgan has played more than 400 professional tournaments in Europe and the US – but the Welsh veteran is still awaiting the winning breakthrough. She led by three going into the final day but closed with a 73.
Vikki Laing fired a final day 67 and was the top Scot in 11th place on four under par. It was one shot too many to gain automatic qualification for this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn.
But for a player who is working part-time in a pub in Portobello to help her finances, the £9,200 cheque was very welcome. “It was a shame to miss by a shot for Woburn,” said the Musselburgh 35-year-old. “I missed out on pre-qualifying so I don’t even get the chance to play in final qualifying tomorrow.”
North Berwick’s Catriona Matthew, the two-time champion, shot a final-day 71 and finished tied 18th on one under par.
The round of the day came from Swede Caroline Hedwall, an eight-under-par 64 lifting her into fifth place on eight under par.