England’s Olivia Winning won the Helen Holm Scottish women’s open stroke play championship at Royal Troon for a second time – after a nailbiting wait.
The 21 year-old from Rotherham Golf Club in Yorkshire was four shots off the lead going into the final round and surprised to find she was in with a chance of the title after closing with a 54-hole total of one-over par.
All eyes had been on another Olivia, the defending champion Olivia Mehaffey from Ireland, who had topped the leaderboard after days one and two. But bogeys at 13, 14 and 15 meant she slipped back into a share of the lead with Winning.
A further bogey at the 17th put Mehaffey a shot behind, leaving Winning biting her nails in the clubhouse and “freaking out” at the thought she might win. But, win she did, with her par 72 final round enough to see her through when Mehaffey was unable to pull it back on the final hole.
Winning previously captured this title in 2013 and this is her first victory in any tournament since then – and it brings an end to a difficult couple of years. “I am so excited, it’s special”, she said after being presented with the Helen Holm Trophy and silver gilt medal for a second time.
“It’s a difficult course but I think I’ve played it enough times now to have found my way round. I played it really well back in 2013 when I won and this year I just kept it simple. I wasn’t as mad with the birdies as I was last time, just kept it steady and it worked out in the end,” said Winning, who was an England girl international.
“I’ve been working on my swing constantly in the last two years. When I came up in 2013, I was hitting it well and I knew I was hitting it well and I could go out there with confidence. This year it was a more conservative approach as my swing is not in a great place. It’s getting better but I’m still not happy with where it is, so it’s nice just to get a bit of confidence back.
“I love Scotland, I love Troon, this is my favourite tournament, my favourite golf course and I couldn’t be happier. If there is one tournament I’d want to win in a year, it’s this one and to have done it twice now is incredible. I’m super happy.”
Winning had rounds of 73, 72 at Troon Portland (par 72) before completing the championship with level par 72 on the Old Course at Royal Troon.
Five other English players finished in the top ten: Bethan Popel (Long Ashton) and Annabel Bailey (Kirby Muxloe) tied fifth, while Lauren Horsford (Wimbledon Park), Bethany Garton (Royal Lytham & St Annes) and Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough) shared seventh place.
As well as winning the silver medal for her second placed scored of 218, Olivia Mehaffey won the Ladies’ Club Silver Salver for the best team performance along with Chloe Ryan of Castletroy Golf Club. The bronze medal was won by Maria Dunne of Skerries Golf Club who finished a shot behind on 219.
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Image courtesy Kenny Smith/Scottish Golf