Local lass Sally Watson, who hit the opening shot in today’s first round, is quitting professional golf after the £2.5 million Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns.
The 26-year-old’s decision had already been made before she secured a spot in the fourth women’s major of the season through Monday’s qualifier at the Castle Course.
Watson has been accepted to the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where she is set to start working on her M.B.A. in September.
Edinburgh-born Watson, a two-time Curtis Cup player, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Stanford University just over four years ago.
Her acamdemic advisor at Tiger Woods’s alma mater was former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has helped Watson get into the graduate business school in Illinois with a letter of recommendation.
“She was my academic advisor, but I think more than that,” Watson told Golfweek of Rice. “She’s got incredible experiences. You meet very few people who have lived the life that she’s lived.”
Watson, a former Scottish Girls’ champion who lives in Elie, turned pro straight after graduating from Stanford and has been flying the flag for Castle Stuart on the LET over the past four seasons.
She recorded two third-place finishes in 2014, including the Ladies Scottish Open, before matching that effort in the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open the following year.
Scottish Stroke-Play champion Liam Johnston took route 66 into the top 20 after two rounds in the Western Amateur at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois.
The Dumfries & County player is tied for 19th on four-under after carded two eagles and four birdies in his five-under-par second-day effort, having opened with a 72.
Drumoig’s Connor Syme, the other Scot in the field, missed the cut by a shot on one-over after a second-round 75 that included an triple-bogey 8 at the third.
“The US pace of play is horrendous,” wrote Syme on Twitter afterwards.
Australian Ruben Sondjaja leads by a shot on 12-under following rounds of 66 and 64.
Grantown-on-Spey’s Gavin Hay captured his first Tartan Tour Order of Merit win with a dramatic play-off victory in the Emtec Group Deer Park Masters.
Hay followed up his first-round 67 with a 71 for a six-under total before beating Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) and Robert Arnott (Bishopbriggs GR) with a birdie at the first extra hole.
“I was up against a couple of big names and experienced players in the play-off, so to come out on top is brilliant,” said the new champion,
Scotland team-mates Sandy Scott and Craig Howie are set for a mouth-watering clash in this morning’s third round of the Scottish Amateur Championship at Prestwick.
The duo set up the pick of the last-32 ties after comfortable second-round victories on a rainy day on the Ayrshiere coast.
Craig’s younger brother, Darren, was also a notable winner, taking out fellow Scotland internationalist Rory Franssen with a 3&2 triumph.
Others still standing include Alasdair McDougall, one of last year’s beaten finalists at Royal Aberdeen. He beat new Scotland cap Euan Walker (Kilmarnock (Barassie)) at the 21st.
But Walker Cup captain Craig Watson (East Renfrewshire) is out after losing 3&2 to Newmachar’s Calvin Cheyne.
Sittting joint-sixth, former European Tour player Steven O’Hara is the top Scot heading into the second round of of the Galvin Green PGA Assistants’ Championship at Coxmoor.
O’Hara, who is attached to North Lanarkshire Leisure, is just a shot off the lead after carding a one-under 70, a shot better than Rodger Clarke (Golf Dedication Centre).
North Carolina 15-year-old Akshay Bhatia set a new 54-hole scoring record of 199 in the Boys US PGA Championship in Missouri.
Bhatia backed up his opening rounds of 69-61 with another 69 at The Country Club of St Albans to take a two-shot lead over California’s Daulet Tuleubayev into today’s final round.
Local lad David Langley shot 14-under par over 36 holes to lead the qualifiers into the match play stages of the English Amateur Championship at The Berkshire.
Defending champion Dan Brown (Masham) also made his way safely into the knock-out stage on six-under.