Megan Briggs feels the benefit of calm start to championship

THE local member on car parking duties summed it up perfectly. "This is exceptionally quiet," he noted of a relatively calm day for this part of the world. "But let's see what tomorrow brings."

Competitors in the 97th Scottish Women's Amateur Championship already know how different back-to-back days can be on the Kintyre Peninsula.

In practice on Monday the wind was so strong that the 357-yard 17th was out of range in two shots.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yesterday, although the flags were limp for most of the day and some generous par 5s on the front nine were being reduced to a drive and short iron, the magnificent old links still proved a decent test and, in the eyes of most, a fair one, too.

Megan Briggs, the winner at Southerness two years ago, was the only player in the 87-strong field to break par, the 21-year-old Kilmacolm player wielding her putter to good effect as she led after the first of two stroke-play qualifying rounds with a one-under 71.

It was a fine effort, even more so considering Briggs has been so busy preparing for her fourth-year Law exams at Strathclyde University that she has only played one other competitive stroke-play round in 2011.

By contrast, Kelsey MacDonald has plenty golf under her belt already this year. The defending champion this week, she likened the test to West Lancs, where the Stirling student recorded a runaway win last month in the British Universities' Championship, after posting a 72 to lie joint second.

The Nairn Dunbar player made easy work of those two long holes on the front nine, hitting the first with a 9-iron for her second and the seventh with an 8-iron.

But, she noted: "The other side of that coin, as we found out yesterday, is that you can't get up in two at par-4s under 400 yards when it's windy."

With all due respect to both Briggs and MacDonald, the outstanding performance on the opening day probably came from Lauren Whyte, a 15-year-old four-handicapper from Strathkinness in Fife, who marked her debut in the event by matching par.

While the Madras College pupil, who holed her second shot from just under 200 yards for an eagle at the 13th, came here looking to gain experience and perhaps get in the second flight, she has given herself a chance of making the main 32 for the match-play phase.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fellow Fifer Louise Kenney, runner-up for the last two years, bounced back well from a quadruple-bogey 8 to sit handily placed on 74, the same as 1998 winner Elaine Moffat and Mortonhall's Rachael Watton, who started her day with an eagle.