The 21-year-old West Kilbride player became the first Scot to land the coveted R&A title since 1997 as she stormed to a 9&8 triumph over Iceland’s Johanna Lea Ludviksdottir in the 36-hole decider.
Duncan became the 17th Scottish player to claim the prize, emulating Catriona Matthew who achieved the feat at Royal Lytham in 1993, by being crowned champion as a University of Stirling scholar.
Having transferred from Edinburgh, Duncan has just finished her second year on the Stirling programme run by Dean Robertson, who was on the bag as she recorded the biggest win in a final in the event’s 128-year history.
“Louise is an absolute machine,” said Robertson, the 1999 Italian Open champion who is the high performance golf coach at Stirling, where he has been involved with one of the best programmes in the UK for more than a decade.
“She’s a very modest girl, so unassuming, and works very hard. She wouldn’t put herself out, front and centre in a team environment, but she would lead by example within a team and that’s what she does. She’s a real work horse and a great role model for those around her.”
Duncan, whose previous biggest success had been in the Fairhaven Junior Girls’ Open in 2018, lives in Seamill, and admitted afterwards to Robertson that, on a scale from 1 to 10, “in terms of nerves I was 12 all day” due to having a chance to land such a big prize so close to home.
“It was a case of just trying to navigate her out there,” added Robertson. “The golf course was brilliant. It was linksy, it was lovely, and I couldn’t be more proud or delighted for her.”
The win has secured spots for Duncan, who is coached by Iain Darroch at West Kilbride, in this year’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie and Evian Championship in France, as well as next year’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur and US Women’s Open.
According to Robertson, 2017 Walker Cup player Jack McDonald, who was also part of the Stirling programme before turning professional, had played a part in Duncan having all those big rewards to look forward to.
“Wee Jack, that’s his home course,” he said, “and about three weeks ago he took Louise around the course and I walked around with them. He told Louise how to play all the holes and that was definitely a big help for her.”
In addition to both Matthew and Duncan being at Stirling University when they landed their wins, Alison Rose represented Stirling Golf Club when she tasted success in that 1997 event at Cruden Bay.
Matthew, the European Solheim Cup captain, was quick to point out that common thread in a post over the weekend, with Scottish men’s No 1 Bob MacIntyre also adding his voice to a chorus of praise for the new champion on social media.
“It’s pretty special,” said Duncan of hearing that. “The support I’ve had from loads of people this week has been amazing and I can’t thank them enough. Honestly, it’s what has got me this far and I really appreciate it.”