Quick-fire hat-trick of stand-out victories for Rachel Gourley
SCOTLAND: Sunday, April 10th
FORMAT: 54-hole strokeplay
Winning has certainly become a habit for Arcot Hall’s Rachel Gourley with the England Girls player claiming her third big title of the year at Irvine Golf Club on Friday.
Last year the Northumberland golfer demonstrated her huge promise without winning regularly but her dramatic victory at the Daily Telegraph/Justin Rose Golf Championship in October, was a huge breakthrough.
At Irvine she claimed the Scottish Girls Open Championship by two shots, following hot on the heels of her successes at the Formby Leveret and Sunningdale Foursomes, who she won alongside fellow international Lottie Woad (Farnham).
“Since the Daily Telegraph I have been regularly shooting the scores to do it,” said the 17-year-old. “Last year I was shooting solid scores without getting over the line and this one is my biggest win yet so I am thrilled.”
Gourley’s rapidly-growing assurance in big events came to the fore at the Ayrshire venue as she overhauled Germany’s Phillipa Golan down the stretch on Friday afternoon. She would close with a bogey-free 68 in what essentially turned into a matchplay contest on the back nine. Roisin Scanlon, who collected the U-16s prize, finished a further five shots back in third.
At the 17th the contest took a decisive turn. With both players finding the fairway off the tee at the par four, Golan found trouble in the trees to the right of the green. Gourley also failed to find the putting surface ( but only just) and then watched on as her playing partner failed to escape the trees with her third shot and then put her next to 20 feet.
The Arcot Hall player responded by almost holing her chip while Golan then also missed her bogey putt to leave herself two behind.
The 18th is a short par four so the new leader went for hybrid off the tee, finding the fairway, before putting an 85-yard wedge shot to seven feet. A regulation two putt would follow while the German also got down in two for a par.
“I have never been as nervous over a tee shot,” added Gourley. “It was a good job I was in such a good position on the final green because I was shaking over the final putt.”
In the U-16s event, Scanlon (Woburn) won by one shot from France’s Juliette Demeaux, coming from one shot back in the final round to overhaul the French player.