South African success for Shannon McWilliam

Aboyne's Shannon McWilliam shows off the trophy after her win at East London
Aboyne's Shannon McWilliam shows off the trophy after her win at East London
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Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam boosted her Curtis Cup hopes by getting a winter training trip to South Africa off to a winning start.

The 18-year-old stormed to a six-shot success in the Border Championship, a 54-hole event at East London Golf Club.

Karis Davidson in action in the final round of the ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open

Karis Davidson in action in the final round of the ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open

McWilliam opened with rounds of 72 and 69 before signing off with a 75 to finish with a three-under-par total.

“Nice to get a cheeky win in South Africa,” wrote McWilliam, who is in the GB&I Curtis Cup squad along with fellow Scot Connie Jaffray, on Twitter.

Grantown-on-Spey’s Hannah McCook finished joint-second along with home player Danielle Du Toit.

“I thought it was a really good tournament, although it was really tough playing the 36 holes in one day and 18 the next,” said McWilliam, runner-up in last year’s Helen Holm Trophy at Troon.

“We have a few tournaments back home like that and it really tests your golf, but we don’t usually play those on golf courses as hilly as this one. I’m really glad I took a caddy each day. I played really nicely over both days. I was striking the ball well and I holed a lot of putts.”

The field was tested by the weather, with incessant rain throughout Saturday, while the mercury rose to 32 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

“We had two extremes, really,” added McWilliams. “We came here out of the British winter, so I think I had a wee bit of a benefit on the first day.

“On Sunday, it was extremely hot over the first nine holes and then the wind came back and the back nine was quite challenging. We had at least a two-club wind coming home and it was definitely a challenge.

“I really enjoyed the tournament, especially the wild life on the course and all the monkeys. They were really entertaining.”

It’s the first time that women have been included by Scottish Golf on a trip that has brought success for men in events such as the South African Amateur and African Amateur Championships in the past.

“I’m really happy to start the winter training programme here in South Africa with a win,” continued McWilliam.

“We play the South African Women’s Masters next on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. Hopefully I can put together another three good rounds at San Lameer.”

Elsewhere, Melrose-born Karis Davidson was “really chuffed” after taking her earnings as a rookie professional to nearly £40,000 with a praiseworthy performance in the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open.

While pride of place at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide went to Korea’s Jin Young Ko as she became just the second player in LPGA history to make a winning debut on the circuit, 19-year-old Davidson handled the biggest test of her career so far in impressive fashion.

Helped by an eagle and three birdies in a row on the back nine, she closed with a two-under-par 70 for a level-par 288 total to finish joint-34th, picking up £5695 to add to the £33,000 the Queensland-based player earned for finishing second in the Oates Vic Open a fortnight earlier.

Davidson will now turn her attention to playing on the Japan LPGA Tour and said: “I’ve got a lot of goals this season but probably keeping my card in Japan is the main one and maybe win a couple of tournaments.”

Ko led from wire-to-wire, finishing on 14-under as she won by four strokes.