Hannah Darling once again underlined her enormous potential by making a successful defence of the Xact Scottish Girls’ Championship at Moray Golf Club in Lossiemouth, where Connor Wilson made it a Lothians double by winning the boys’ equivalent.
Darling created a slice of history when, just 13 at the time, the Broomieknowe player become the youngest Scottish Girls’ champion at Scotscraig 12 months ago, claiming that honour from Jane Connachan.
Earlier this year, she then won the inaugural Girls Under-16 Open Championship at Fulford in Yorkshire and this latest title triumph was another impressive display from arguably Scotland’s brightest female prospect since Catriona Matthew.
Darling, who is coached by Ian Muir and part of the #Project 19 initiative aimed at getting some Scottish representation in next year’s Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, topped the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying by six shots and didn’t go beyond the 16th in winning four ties in the match-play phase.
She ended the run of Swiss-based Cameron Neilson in the morning semi-finals then recovered from losing the opening hole to a birdie to beat West Kilbride’s Louise Duncan 3&2 in the final. Darling was six-under for the holes played, having made an eagle and four birdies. “I’m speechless to be honest,” said Darling. “Throughout the week I tried not to think about it and just took it as a new tournament but it’s the best feeling.”
Wilson, whose home club is Castle Park, near Gifford, but is also a Dunbar member, claimed the boys’ title after a hard-earned 2&1 win over Royal Aberdeen’s Liam Waldron in the final.
Waldron, conqueror of Australia-based Joshua Greer, last year’s beaten finalist, in the morning semi-finals, had his nose in front after making back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth but undid that good work when he lost both the seventh and ninth to concessions.
Wilson, winner of the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy at Macdonald Cardrona near Peebles last month, then won the 13th and 14th to go two up, lost the 15th to another birdie-2 from his opponent before holing from bunker at the 17th for victory.
“It is unbelievable and I’m lost for words,” said the 17-year-old. “It was a tough match and wasn’t all great golf, so I had to do a lot of grinding. But it was good towards the end. Despite finishing quite low after the two stroke-play rounds, I was very happy with my game. Beating a couple of big names in the match-play phase, gave me a lot of confidence.”