The chances of new Scottish women’s amateur golf champion Laura Murray from Alford bidding for a repeat win next year will recede with each good performance over the next few months, writes Colin Farquharson.
The prospects of beaten finalist Jane Turner from Penicuik going one better next year when the 99th championship is played at Longniddry, a course in her neck of the woods, are very good.
Laura, now 23, has been talking, for the past two years, about going to the Ladies European Tour School - but has never felt her game was in good enough nick to justify the expense by gaining a player’s card.
But a switch to a new PGA coach - boyfriend Keil Beveridge from the Inchmarlo Golf Centre staff - and a lot of hard work under his guidance during the winter has transformed Murray as a player.
This season she has been top Scot in the “Helen Holm,” top Scot in the Welsh stroke-play, and now Laura is Scottish champion.
“As regards going to Tour School, I would like to hang fire and make the decision towards the end of the season, but if my form continues, then it will be an easy decision to go for it,” said Laura after her two-hole victory over Jane Turner at Tain on Saturday.
Laura said: “Keil told me to go out and treat the final as though I was playing a bounce game against Jane, whom I know well - and I did just that. I was totally relaxed and really enjoyed myself.
“I was more nervous in the early rounds of the match-play when I was twice taken to the 18th green before winning.
“At the end of last season, my golf was at the crossroands and I didn’t know where it was going to take me.my golf was taking me.
“Then Keil started coaching me and playing with me in the North-east Alliance winter fixtures where I have to play off the same tees as the men and that’s made me a much longer hitter than I used to be.
“Keil is very simplistic in his approach to coaching and it has worked wonders for me. He doesn’t try to fill my head with what to do and what not to do. And now I feel I am on the right road to becoming a tour pro, sooner than later.”
Murray was never behind in the final after taking the lead for the first time at the fifth. Turner squared the match at the seventh but lost the eighth and ninth to be two down at the turn.
Turner started the inward half well with wins at the 10th and 11th to square the game for a second time.
The turning point in Laura’s favour came at the 12th when she hit a tremendous bunker shot to within a foot of the hole to stay all square.
Back to back birdie 4s at the 13th and 14th put the long-hitting Murray two up again but lost the 15th with one of her few bogeys.
Then, at the final hole, Murray pulled out a magnificent approach shot to within a foot of the hole. There was no hesitation on the part of the sporting Turner. She conceded the putt, the match and the Scottish title.
Murray had a bag of four birdies and was roughly one or two under par for the final.