Kathryn Imrie keen to build on Scotland's best-ever finish in Women's World Amateur
Scotland’s best-ever performance in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship was set up by two-time Open champion Ernie Els’s philosophy on golf, according to LPGA Tour winner Kathryn Imrie.
Represented by Hannah Darling, Chloe Goadby and Lorna McClymont, the Scots overcame a sluggish start to finish joint-seventh behind winners Sweden in an event involving 54 teams at Le Golf National near Paris.
Helped by a best-of-the-week 65, Darling ended up one shot outside the top spot in the individual standings, which also saw the ever-improving McClymont finish in the top 30 in a field that included the world No 1, American Rose Zhang.
“It was a really good performance, especially after we got off to a really slow start,” said Imrie, who accompanied the tartan trio in her new role as Scottish Golf’s performance coach. “I think we were no worse than the third lowest score on the last three days, which was very encouraging.”
The effort saw Scotland finish ahead of England, the dominant force among the Home Unions in recent years, in their biggest test since Imrie returned to her roots after a lengthy spell in the US to take on an exciting challenge.
“It’s interesting because I put myself in my position when I was them,” replied the two-time Solheim Cup vice captain when asked about what she’d brought to the table in her post, which involves working closely with Catriona Matthew.
“I would say that I was always pretty hard on myself and, if there’s one thing I can teach the youngsters coming through now is not to be that hard on themselves.
“This is a game, after all. Yes, it can be your livelihood, but you’ve got to keep it light. I loved Ernie Els’ quote when he said that you’ve got to practice like it’s a job but play like it’s fun.
“When I saw them playing in the practice rounds, especially at Le Golf National, they were all loose and all of them were playing great. It’s about trying to get them in that frame of mind, which is very difficult. I like to think I can bring a good balance when the time comes for players to be serious but also keep it light as well at other times.”
In addition to the likes of Darling, McClymont and Goadby, R&A Under-16s champion Grace Crawford and Freya Russell, Freya Constable and Robyn Fowlie have all shown signs of real promise.
“The talent is great. We just need to get more depth,” said Imrie, who has now turned her attention to drawing up plans for a winter training camp to be reinstated.
“The ones there are great to work with and I see my role going forward being to source more Hannah Darlings. Yes, she’s exceptional, but I think there have to be more Hannahs out there and just to have her as a role model is great.
“The team atmosphere is great and I feel Scottish Golf has a team in place to take players to the next level and keep the game progressing in Scotland.”
As for being back on home soil herself, she declared: “I’m a pretty happy chappie (laughing) as I have the best job in the world right now trying to have an influence on these youngsters.”
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