Louise Duncan 'vindicates' pro move by picking up £69,000 in AIG Women's Open
The 22-year-old from West Kilbride missed out on earning around £80,000 for a tie for tenth in last year’s event at Carnoustie due to the fact she played in the major on that occasion as an amateur.
But, in just her second event since joining the paid ranks, Duncan picked up £69,000 following a brilliant last-day effort in windy conditions on the East Lothian coast.
Cheered on by the home fans, she signed off with a two-under-par 69 for a one-under total, which saw her finish joint-19th in the $7.3 million tournament.
“Yeah, I'm over the moon with the end result,” admitted Duncan, who’d opened with rounds of 67-73 before dropping down the leaderboard following a 74 on Saturday.
“Start of the week, I’d have said that level par would be pretty good, especially since the conditions were meant to be quite testing, so to finish on one-under is really good and I'm happy with that.”
Duncan, who won the R&A Women’s Amateur last year, cut short her initial intended spell at University of Stirling to embark on a professional career.
She made an early exit on her debut in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links last week, which left her feeling a bit down for a few days.
But, having once again shown that she has the game to compete on the biggest stages, Duncan is excited about what now lies ahead.
“Yeah, definitely cemented my decision,” she admitted, having been guided superbly once again by her caddie Dean Robertson, the University of Stirling head performance coach.
“I didn't really know whether I wanted to do it (turn pro) or not but I'm happy with the result and I'm looking forward to getting practicing again, getting out in tournaments like these.”
It was great to see a smile back on her face after suffering a tough time in the last 12 months, admitting a low point had been her performance in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April.
“Augusta was horrendous,” she said of failing to join her compatriot, Hannah Darling, in teeing up in the final round at Augusta National after the opening 36 holes at Champions Retreat.
“I played awful the first two rounds and nearly came dead last. That's definitely a low point. I just didn't really get anything going. Wasn't confident; I felt out of place.
”I mean, it's been a long struggle. This is the first cut I've made all year, so I'm really delighted with that. Yeah, going forward, I'm going to keep this tournament in my mind!”
Gemma Dryburgh, the other Scot to make the cut, signed off with a 73 in the company of Muirfield member Lindsey Garden in her role as a marker to finish on 10-over, picking up just over £13,000 for finishing 63rd. “Well, it was an up and down weekend, I’d say,” admitted Dryburgh, who’d signed for a 77 on Saturday.
“For 13 holes yesterday I played really well then the frustration of not making any putts kid of got to me a little bit and affected the rest of my game, unfortunately, and led to me having a bad finish.
“Today I didn’t get off to the best of starts, but I was happy with how I played considering how strong the wind is out there. But it’s the first time I’ve made it to the weekend in this event so it’s been a positive week.”
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