Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam has quickly delivered trophy success for Scottish Golf in South Africa, travelling as part of a female group to the Rainbow Nation for the first time.
Thanks to the continued support from the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation, Scotland’s new look amateur squads are in South Africa to compete and build for the season ahead.
The competitive winter camp, which is also supported by national team sponsors Aberdeen Standard Investments, coupled with funding from sportscotland, features a group of female golfers for the first time, with nine players – including four teenagers – journeying to South Africa to take part in the leading events on the South African amateur circuit.
The Scots women are playing in three events and there was immediate joy for McWilliam, who secured victory in the Border Championship at East London Golf Club yesterday.
The 18-year-old was the only player in the field to finish in red numbers at the challenging par-73 layout. She put together rounds of 72, 69 and 75 to beat home home Danielle du Toit and team-mate Hannah McCook by three shots on a winning score of three-under-par 216.
“I thought it was a really good tournament, although it was really tough playing the 36 holes in one day and 18 the next,” said last year’s Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship runner-up.
“We have a few tournaments back home like that and it really tests your golf, but we don’t usually play those on golf courses as hilly as this one. I’m really glad I took a caddy each day. I played really nicely over both days. I was striking the ball well and I holed a lot of putts.”
The field was tested by the weather, with incessant rain throughout Saturday, while the mercury rose to 32 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
McWilliam, a Curtis Cup hopeful, added: “We had two extremes, really. We came here out of the British winter, so I think I had a wee bit of a benefit on the first day. On Sunday, it was extremely hot over the first nine holes and then the wind came back and the back nine was quite challenging. We had at least a two-club wind coming home and it was definitely a challenge.”
“I’m really happy to start the winter training programme here in South Africa with a win. We play the South African Women’s Masters next on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. Hopefully I can put together another three good rounds at San Lameer.”
Two-time Scottish Golf Order of Merit winner McCook (Grantown on Spey) carded rounds of 71, 75 and 76.