IT will be hats off – at least one anyway – if North Berwick’s Clara Young becomes the youngest-ever Scottish Ladies’ champion at North Berwick today.
Her grandmother, Isobel Hendry, revealed after watching the 16-year-old set up a title showdown with Elderslie’s Alyson McKechin that she’s been wearing a lucky toorie all week on the East Lothian coast.
“When I had it on earlier in the week, Clara said ‘nice hat’ and I said ‘you should like it because you bought it for me’,” Hendry told the Evening News.
“I’ve been wearing it every day and couldn’t take it off today even though I didn’t really need to be wearing it as it was quite hot. I’ll definitely be wearing it for the final now!”
Young’s putter has been hot all week, as both Kilmacolm’s Eilidh Briggs and Rachel Polson from Peterculter discovered to their cost.
The East Lothian teenager single-putted nine out of 16 greens in beating Briggs, the beaten finalist two years ago, 3 and 2 in the morning.
And her eye was in again, notably when holing a 45-footer for a half in birdie-2s at the sixth, as she followed that up with a 4 and 3 triumph over Polson.
“I’m a bit surprised to be in the final, but I’ve been hitting it good this week and also managing to hole my fair share of putts,” said Young. “I’ve recently gone back to a conventional putting grip from cack-handed, which I’d been using since last April.”
Victory for Young in the 18-hole final would see her eclipse Royal Musselburgh’s Jane Connachan, who was 18 when she won the SLGA’s flagship event at Troon in 1982.
It would also see her follow in the spikemarks of fellow North Berwick native Catriona Matthew, a three-time winner of the title before becoming a major champion.
“Catriona is certainly someone to look up to,” admitted the North Berwick High School pupil.One event has already been decided, with Aboybe’s Kimberley Beveridge claiming the consolation Clark Rosebowl won last year by Broomieknowe’s Hannah Scott.