Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam, supported by the Paul Lawrie Foundation and a member of the Scottish Golf Academy, today achieved her biggest win to date – after victory in the Loretto School Scottish Boys & Girls Under-14s Championship at Fortrose & Rosemarkie.
The Aboyne club champion, 14, finished fifth in the event last year and drew on that confidence to claim the title by three shots in the Highland, holding off the challenge of the international field.
McWilliam posted a 12-over-par winning total after rounds of 75 and 79, three strokes ahead of five players in total.
Overnight leader Kirsty Brodie of Strathmore stumbled to an 84 for 15-over, the same mark as Katharina Steffl from Austria, Lucy Walton of The Worcestershire, Charthills’ Cloe Frankish and Charlotte Munro of Gullane Ladies.
McWilliam, also a member of the SLGA Foundation Squad, said:
I had a good finish in the Under-14s last year and that gave me confidence going into this week.
I came in hoping just to play my best and enjoyed thinking my way around a short but tight course. It was a very enjoyable tournament and I loved meeting new people and making friends with the other girls in the tournament.
Shannon paid tribute to coach Andrew Locke, who has been “a very important influence” and a lesson last week at Aboyne, the Royal Deeside club, helped her game click into place.
In the boys’ event, West Sussex’ Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor) took the title.
The 14-year-old England National Under-16 Squad player also achieved his biggest win to date, cruising to a five-shot victory. Strickland posted a brilliant level-par score after rounds of 70 and 72.
Leopold Benze from Germany and William Eardley (Pannal) shared the runners-up spot.
Calum Mitchell of Balmore and Haggs Castle’s Aidan Husenne were the best-placed home players in a tie for ninth.
Strickland, who commended the condition of the course, came north with a team of three led by Scot Steven Orr, who is a regional coach for the South East.
“The key for the week was being accurate,” he said. “I hit a lot of greens, stayed patient and holed a few putts. I knew I could potentially win but the goal was a top-five.”
The Boys & Girls Under-14s has been greatly supported by the Loretto School Golf Academy, who have been sponsors since 2004, and attracts talented young golfers from across the UK and beyond.
Jonathan Hewat, Director of External Affairs at Loretto School, added, “The standard of Golf from the youngsters was first-rate and I congratulate them all. It was a big occasion and I get the feeling that the future of Golf in Scotland is in safe hands!”
The Loretto School Golf Academy, based in Musselburgh, East Lothian, is widely recognised as the leading golf school in Europe. Now in its 11th year, it offers pupils an outstanding opportunity to develop their golfing talents in tandem with a first-class, all-round private school education.