Golf: Julie is a class apart

JULIE YANG, a 14-year-old pupil at Loretto School in Musselburgh, earned top marks in the Paul Lawrie Scottish Schools Golf Championships at Murrayshall in Perthshire.

The South Korean-born player won the girls' title by 12 shots after a record-breaking performance in the 36-hole event.

Her nine-under-par 64 over the main Murrayshall course slashed seven shots off the previous women's course record.

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In a round that contained a mere 24 putts, Yang signed for an eagle and nine birdies as she once again underlined her enormous potential.

"My putting has not been very good since I won the Welsh Women's Open title last month but I think these greens were made for me – the speed of them was just perfect," she said.

Yang, who had a par-matching round of 69 over the shorter Lynedoch course to give her a nine-under-par total of 133, is nearing the end of her first year at Loretto.

She moved to the Musselburgh school from her previous base in Phoenix, Arizona, so that she could gain valuable experience of European conditions and courses with a view to becoming a Tour pro as soon as she completes her education.

In addition to the work she's been doing with Rick Valentine, the school's director of golf, and the other members of the Loretto golf team, Yang has also been receiving coaching from Alan Murdoch at Kings Acre.

"I like Scotland and the golf courses – but not the weather," she said. Although Yang will not be able to play for the Scotland girls' team during her four years at Loretto, she is eligible to play for the Scottish Schools against their English counterparts in the annual international at Fairhaven in September.

In addition to her individual success, Yang also joined forces with Lesley Atkins, her fellow Loretto pupil, to win the girls' team event for East Lothian.

Their aggregate of 284 gave them a 14-shot victory over runners-up Renfrewshire, represented by Alyson McKechin and Natasha Qayum.

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Grant Forrest, the Scottish Boys' champion who was representing City of Edinburgh, looked to have done the hard work with a six-under-par 67 over the longer of the two courses in the boys' event.

But the Craigielaw player slipped to a seven-over 76 on the Lynedoch and had to settle for a share of fifth spot.

Scott Gibson (Dumfries and Galloway) retained the title with a six-under-par total of 136, three below team-mate Liam Johnston. Lothians Boys champion Simon Fairburn, representing Borders, pipped Ewan Scott (Fife) for third spot on a countback after they tied on 139.

Dumfries and Galloway won the boys' team event through the efforts of Gibson, Johnston and Scott Wightman. The Scottish Schools team of 12 boys and six girls for the match against English Schools will be finalised by the Scottish Schools Golf Association once they know who is available for selection.