Japan's Ayaka Furue signs off with 62 to win Women's Scottish Open

It wasn’t quite on par with ‘Smiling Cinderella’ Hinako Shibuno’s fairytale Woburn win in the 2019 Women’s Open but not far behind.

Ayaka Furue poses with the new Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open Trophy after her four-shot win at Dundonald Links. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.
Ayaka Furue poses with the new Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open Trophy after her four-shot win at Dundonald Links. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

Ayaka Furue, after all, had never tasted victory outside her native Japan before, though seven successes there indicated she was a star in the making.

The 22-year-old from Kobe started the final round of the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open four shots off the lead at Dundonald Links yet ended up winning it by that same margin.

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In a glorious end to the $2 million event, both golf and weather-wise, Furue signed off with a sensational 10-under-par 62, trimming two shots off the course record, on the Ayrshire coast.

Ayaka Furue of Japan smiles at the 18th hole during the final round of the Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open at Dundonald Links. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

After starting her day on a positive note with a 3 at the first, she birdied six holes in a row around the turn before picking up three more in the last four holes.

Her putting on the undulating greens on this Kyle Phillips-designed course – it will host the event again in 2023 – was every bit as impressive as Cameron Smith’s flatstick display in the closing circuit in the 150th Open at St Andrews a fortnight earlier.

Furue’s winning total of 21-under was a new record for the event over 72 holes and came in its strongest-ever field, which had included seven of the world’s top 10.

“I am very happy,” said Furue, who was guided to her title triumph by Glaswegian caddie Michael Scott. “I thought it would be difficult to catch the leaders, but I had the right mindset. I knew I had to go low and hit a lot of good shots and was able to make lots of birdie putts.”

After coming through the LPGA’s Qualifying Series last year, Furue had produced a string of consistent performances in her rookie season.

Indeed, helped by reaching the final of the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play in Las Vegas, she’d already risen to 30th in the Rolex Rankings and, on this evidence, looks set to be closing in on the top 10 before too long.

“I didn’t think I could come out and win as a rookie, but I am very grateful and happy to win on a links course,” added the new champion.

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Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, one of the overnight co-leaders, had to settle for second spot after a closing 69, finishing with a birdie to finish a shot ahead of Korea’s Hyo-Joo Kim (66) and American Cheyenne Knight (67).

After a disappointing last day, Lydia Ko, who’d shared that 54-hole, ended up in a tie for fifth on 16-under after signing off with a 71.

Gemma Dryburgh picked up the Jock MacVicar Trophy for leading Scot, tying for 34th on six-under after a closing 74 that started with a double-bogey 6 but then saw her cover the remaining stretch in level-par.

“Overall a positive week,” said the 29-year-old. Referring to her matching the best score of the day with a 66 on Saturday, she added: “Yesterday was a highlight for sure. Lowest I've done in the Scottish. That was fun, so all positives.”

Kylie Henry, the other home player to make it through to the weekend, ended up in a tie for 69th after a last-day 72, which included two birdies in the last three holes.

Thai duo WIchanee Meechai and Chanattee Wannasean both secured spots in next week’s AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield through their week’s work along with Spaniard Carmen Alonso.

A minimum of 12 berths in the season’s final major are up for grabs in Monday’s final qualifier at North Berwick, where the hopefuls include top-ranked Scottish amateur Hannah Darling and host club player Clara Young.

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