It wasn’t a bad way to celebrate a 24th birthday, even if Gemma Batty herself – her boyfriend and dad, too – forgot that was the case ahead of the Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship final at Elie.
Landing that title at the first attempt meant Batty could laugh about her start to the day after beating Gabrielle Macdonald in the 18-hole title showdown, a nip-and-tuck affair that was decided in a circumstance not in keeping with the rest of the contest.
Bidding to regain the prize she won in 2014 at Prestwick, Macdonald had fought back from two down with six to play to be all square heading up the last only to see her approach from just off the fairway come out low, fast and, unfortunately for her, end up out of bounds.
“It was disappointing to see that as Gabs had played some lovely golf,” remarked Batty in admitting she’d have preferred the keenly-fought encounter to have been decided in a different manner.
That it ended with Batty picking up the trophy marked an historic feat as the Leeds-born player also won the English equivalent two years ago as she waited for her Scottish eligibility after moving north of the Border.
“All in all, a very nice way to spend my birthday, especially after waking up this morning and forgetting it was my birthday,” she declared. “My boyfriend and my dad also forgot, so I only had one ‘happy birthday’ before teeing off.”
Batty, who plays her golf at both Moffat, where she lives close to the course, and West Linton, added: “I think this ranks above my English win as this is my first year playing in this event and my game has improved so much in two years.
“Also, golf is now a glorified hobby for me. Back then it was a bit more serious as I was still thinking about giving it a go as a career whereas now I’m starting a job with Lidl later in the year through its graduate scheme.”
On a terrific course for a match-play event and one that was also in fantastic condition, Batty stiffed her approach at the sixth before Macdonald did likewise at the 13th. With the match in the balance, Batty put the pressure on her opponent with a splendid second at the last, but the Craigielaw player admitted she’d been “gutted” to see what happened with her reply.