Gemma Batty won the English Women’s Championship as she waited for her Scottish eligibility after moving to Moffat from Yorkshire and now she is on the brink of a place in the golfing record books.
In her first appearance in the event, Batty will celebrate her 24th birthday by facing Craigielaw’s Gabrielle Macdonald in the final of the Scottish Women’s Championship at Elie.
Her chance of completing a notable double has been set up by a string of solid performances so far on the sun-kissed Fife coast.
“I don’t think anyone will have managed to achieve that feat before, so it would be a pretty cool stat to have to my name,” said Batty after booking her place in the 18-hole title showdown with a 5&4 win over Carnoustie’s Ailsa Summers, the 2016 champion.
Macdonald was the beaten finalist on that occasion at West Kilbride, two years after coming out on top at Prestwick, and she displayed real grit and determination to beat top seed Chloe Goadby and on-form Hannah McCook in two matches that involved a total of 44 holes.
“I have never played 44 holes in a day before in my life,” she said after holing an 18-footer at the third extra hole against McCook, winner of both the Irish and Women’s Open Stroke-Play titles this year, having earlier come through at the 23rd against Goadby.
“I think the adrenaline just kept me going all day. I felt okay today, I was much more tired yesterday, just had to keep concentration and focus and I did that pretty well. Two tough games, I’m just delighted to be in the final.
“Third final, one win and one loss so far, so it should be good fun.”
Batty, who is originally from Leeds, only started to play in big amateur events during her spell at Stirling University but looks to be on a mission to make up for lost time. “It’s my first Scottish Women’s Championship as this is my first full year of eligibility for Scotland, so I’m very pleased to have reached the final,” she said after carding an eagle and three birdies against Summers. “I didn’t play particularly well in the St Rule Trophy at the weekend, so I am over the moon to have come here and performed how I have so far.
“I moved up to Scotland four-and-a-half years ago with my family. I was basically biding my time to play for Scotland as I had to wait three years under the residency rule that is in place for most sports. Once I started attending Stirling University, it was always my dream to play for Scotland and I got my first cap in the Home Internationals last year and hopefully I can secure another one this season.”
Macdonald watched McCook miss a six-footer at the last for victory in a second high-quality affair of the day before making the most of that let off. “I didn’t make a lot of putts all day really, so it was about time one of them dropped,” she declared.