Opens: St Rule Trophy

2021 St Rule Trophy champion Hannah Darling (Pictures courtesy of St Andrews Links Trust)

Hannah Rules at St Andrews to lay down early Curtis Cup marker

OPENS: Monday May 31st

The hugely-talented Scottish teenager Hannah Darling was barely seen last year because of Covid but made a stunning reappearance at the Home of Golf as she won the St Rule Trophy by three shots.

The 17-year-old Broomieknowe member closed the prestigious 54-hole open event on 18 under par and headed up a Scottish 1-2-3. North Berwick’s Clara Young finished second, a shot clear of Milngavie’s Llora McClymont. The opening 36 holes were played on St Andrew’s New Course while the iconic Old Course hosted the closing round.

For Hannah, who played in the junior Solheim Cup two years ago, it was a huge win in a Curtis Cup year with the majority of the GB&I’s hopefuls trailing in her wake.

“I wasn’t thinking about the Curtis Cup while I was playing but obviously this really helps my case,” said the former Scottish Girls Open champion.

“I have been playing really well and I feel like I really proved myself out there.”

Hannah certainly proved to the rest of the field that she is set to be a force to be reckoned with this season, especially in the second round. After opening with a four-under-par 71 – that left her four back of Hampshire’s Emma Allen – she roared into a three-shot lead thanks to a stunning nine-under-par 66, which included eagles at the 16th and 18th – both times she holed out from 20 feet.

“My first round was the most boring four under par,” said Hannah. “I holed absolutely nothing and putts were lipping out. I only made birdies on the par fives.

“I had a word with my coach (Ian Muir) after that and just got really determined. ‘Just go do this’ was the message and I holed a good few putts in the second round. Towards the end of the round I just had a good feeling on the greens. I was stood over putts knowing I was going to hole them.”

The Scottish ace also birded two, six, eight, 10 and 15 in the afternoon to reach nine under for only the third time in her life and the first in major competition.

The next day the field tackled the most famous golf course in the world and any hopes they might claw Hannah back were dashed early on in her round. She birdied two and eagled the fourth in her first competitive round at the venue.

“Obviously there is a chance someone might jump out of the pack but on the 16th tee Ian was able to tell me it was between me Clara and Lorna.”

Both Clara and Hannah birdied the Road Hole (17th) to keep the gap at three and a solid par at the last secured the plus seven handicapper the biggest win of her career to date.

Leading scores (New, par 75 (first 2 rds); Old, par 76 (3rd rd))
1) Hannah Darling (SCO) (Broomieknowe) 71, 66, 71, 208 (-18)
2) Clara Young (SCO) (North Berwick) 71, 69, 71, 211 (-15)
3) Llora Mcclymont (SCO) (Milngavie) 67, 72, 73, 212 (-14)
4) Isobel Wardle (ENG) (Prestbury) 69, 73, 74,  216 (-10)
5) Thalia Kirby (ENG) (Harleyford) 69, 74, 75, 218 (-8)
6) Lottie Woad (ENG) (Farnham) 74, 73, 72, 219 (-7)
7) Beth Coulter (NIR) (Kirkistown Castle) 69, 77, 73,  219 (-7)
8) Maggie Whitehead (ENG) (Close House) 73, 73, 73, 219 (-7)
9) Aine Donegan (NIR) (Lahinch) 74, 74, 72, 220 (-6)
10) Louise Duncan (SCO) (West Kilbride) 72, 76, 72, 220 (-6)
For all the scores click here