England’s Lily May Humphreys dashed home hopes at the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Championship at Royal Troon, securing another notable title at Royal Troon.
With joint overnight leader Shannon McWilliam (Aboyne), St Regulus’ Chloe Goadby and first round leader Hannah McCook (Grantown on Spey) all in the hunt going into the final 18 holes, there were genuine hopes of a first Scottish winner in the event since Heather Stirling 16 years ago.
But the wait goes on as reigning English women’s amateur champion Humphreys, who only turned 16 years old last month, claimed another prestigious prize with a narrow one-stroke win over Goadby.
Humphreys now looks a certainty to be named in the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team, announced on Wednesday, while the likes of McWilliam and Goadby will hope they have done enough to impress on-looking captain Elaine Farquharson-Black.
Humphreys finished on nine under par after a superb closing four-under 68 in the breezy conditions, helped by a hat-trick birdies from the seventh, with two further birdies at 12 and 13 ultimately proving decisive.
Humphreys said: “It means a lot as I had lost form and recovered it for this event. I didn’t know about Chloe’s score until the 11th, but saw her holing putts everywhere, so was pleased to hold on.
“It’s great to have my game under control again. I think this is my biggest win, beating an international field. I felt if I could win this, then I had a chance for the Curtis Cup. My chances are up, but I don’t know whether I will get in.”
Goadby, in the group in front, just couldn’t reel Humphreys in, with her bogey at the par-3 17th seeing her slip two shots behind. A birdie at the last for her own 68 put pressure on Stroke by Nayland’s Humphreys but she held on for glory.
“I’m happy with that,” said the University of Stirling’s Goadby. “I had my strategy set out and plotted my way round to try and get in the mix. Dropping a shot at 17 was probably the only putt that didn’t drop all day, but I made up for it with the birdie on 18.
“Royal Troon has beaten me up before, so I just tried to take my birdie chances when they came. If you told me at the start of the week I would finish on eight under and in second place I would have been happy.”
Defending champion Linn Grant from Sweden finished third on seven under par – with the Swedes taking the team title by a shot over Scotland – with McWilliam finishing on five under.
McWilliam had raced out of the blocks with three birdies in the first five holes to hit the front, but a double bogey at the sixth and then a shank out of bounds onto the railway tracks at the 11th proved her undoing.
The north-east player who has now secured three top-five’s in the last four years in the Helen Holm, said: “I played good enough bar two holes. I didn’t feel the pressures of the (Curtis Cup) selectors watching and I just have to wait and see now.”
Six Scots finished inside the top 10, with McCook tied sixth, Gemma Batty (West Linton) ninth and Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm) and Jasmine MacKintosh (Hazlehead) sharing 10th.