AIG Women's Open: Catriona Matthew hails Hannah Darling and Louise Duncan as 'prospects'

Catriona Matthew is hoping some amateur dramatics from Scottish women golfers this season can be a springboard for tartan triumphs in the professional ranks.

Hannah Darling poses with the trophy following her weekend victory in the R&A Girls Amateur Championship at Fulford. Picture: R&A via Getty Images.
Hannah Darling poses with the trophy following her weekend victory in the R&A Girls Amateur Championship at Fulford. Picture: R&A via Getty Images.

West Kilbride’s Louise Duncan won the Women’s Amateur Championship at Barassie in June before Broomieknowe’s Hannah Darling was crowned as Girls’ Amateur champion at Fulford last Saturday.

Matthew has worked with both players this year in her mentoring role for Scottish Golf and is excited about what the future holds for them.

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“It's hopefully an exciting time for Scottish women's golf and we can get some more players out on tour getting to the top,” said the major winner and Europe’s Solheim Cup captain.

Darling’s title triumph came on the back of an equally impressive victory in the St Rule Trophy in St Andrews earlier in the year.

Along with Duncan, the 18-year-old will be following in Matthew’s footsteps next week by representing Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup, which is being held at Conwy in North Wales.

“It's a very exciting for her,” said Matthew of Darling. “She won the St Rule, but the British Girls' is a big, prestigious win and getting in the Curtis Cup - the pinnacle of amateur golf in Britain - is huge.

“She’s also starting college in the next couple of weeks. It's an exciting time and she's certainly got all talent and all the potential, and I would be quite surprised if she didn't do well, to be honest.”

As part of the reward for her title, Duncan is joining Matthew, as well as Kelsey MacDonald, Kylie Henry and Gemma Dryburgh, in flying the Saltire in this week’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie.

“I had a chance to play a practice round with Louise this week and she is another prospect,” said Matthew.

“She was playing well, very excited and maybe a little bit nervous to be playing in her first pro event and her first major. I think it will be great preparation for the Curtis Cup coming up.”

The leading amateur in the R&A major picks up the Smyth Salver, with Duncan’s rivals for that in Angus including the world No 1, American Rose Zhang.

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