Murray putts to Old Course glory

Laura Murray used her long-hitting power to good effect at St Andrew's
Laura Murray used her long-hitting power to good effect at St Andrew's

Alford’s Laura Murray has become only the fourth player to pull off the Scottish women’s amateur championship and St Rule Trophy winning double in the season.

The 23-year-old did it impressive style winning the prestigious 54-hole St Andrews tournament for the second time in three years on Sunday.

In 2010 she had to go to a play-off which she won against Curtis Cup selection Amy Boulden.

At the weekend, Laura won it a bit more easily - by two shots in the end from Emma Goddard (Royal Liverpool) with scores of 73 over the New Course on Saturday and 74-73 over the Old Course on Sunday for a seven-under-par total of 220.

Murray shared the lead after Saturday’s round but forged two shots clear with her first circuit of the Old Course and when she used her long-hitting powers to birdie the par-5 second, fourth and fifth in her final round the title was hers to lose.

She did bogey the fifth but an eagle 3 at the 13th allowed her to bogey the treacherous 17th, the Road Hole, and still win with something in hand.

The last Scottish champion to win the St Rule Trophy three weeks after her national triumph was Heather Stirling 10 years ago. The only other Scots to pull off the big early-season double have been Catriona Matthew (twice) and Anne Laing.

“For once it wasn’t my driving which was the key, as it was when I won the Scottish title at Tain a couple of weeks ago,” said Laura.

“My driving has gone off a bit and my coach and boyfriend Keil (Beveridge) and I have been working on that to get back to the straight and narrow. But I only hit six fairways on the New Course on Saturday.

“No, it was my putting that pulled me through. I holed an awful lot of good putts over the three rounds. From round about the 10ft range, I hardly missed anything.

“I’m playing well and that gives me confidence - I just wish I was playing in the Curtis Cup match this week!

Seriously, I am really looking forward now to the British women’s championship at Carnoustie at the end of this month. “

Emma Goddard posted the clubhouse target of five-under-par 222 with half the field still to finish - rounds were taking 4 1/2 hours - after posting a four-under-par 72. In the end only Laura Murray overhauled the Lancashire player.

Joint third place a shot behind Goddard went to three players, former Scottish champion Louise Kenney (Pitreavie), Bethany Garton (Royal Lytham), whose final round of 70 was the best of the tournament, and Sweden’s Jenny Haglund, all on 223.

The Lawson Trophy for the highest finishing Under-18 year old was won by Emily Taylor (Royal Lytham) who won the Welsh women’s open amateur stroke play championship last weekend.

Her final round of 71 for 225 for seventh place overall pipped long-time Under-18s leader Jessica Meek (Carnoustie Ladies) by two shots,

Laura Murray, Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm) and Jane Turner (Craigielaw) won the international team trophy for Scotland with a total of 446 - two ahead of runners-up England.

Ireland international Aedin Murphy (Carlow) won a special prize for a hole in one with a six-iron at the 145yd eighth hole in the second round over the Old Course. It was her third ace. She came into the field late on from the waiting list.

The CSS for the three rounds was 76-78-76.

Meanwhile, Laura is defending the North of Scotland women’s amateur golf championship she won at Nairn last year.

This year’s event, restricted to players from the four counties in the Northern Division - Aberdeenshire, Angus, Northern Counties and Perth & Kinross - is being played over the Rosemount course at Blairgowrie from Monday to Wednesday, July 2 to 5.

There is one qualifying round after which the 16 players with the best scratch scores go on to match-play for the Gifford Trophy.

There are also 16 qualifiers for the Angus Salver handicap match-play.

Other former champions in the field include former Scottish girls champion Laura Walker (Muckhart) (2007) and Aberdeenshire champion Sheena Wood (2001)