Troon Ladies’ Connie Jaffrey is the new queen of Scottish women’s amateur golf, after surviving a sterling comeback from Clara Young at Royal Aberdeen.
In an absorbing Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship final between the two 20-year-olds, she beat Young (North Berwick) by two holes in an exciting climax to an event where the rain, which had dogged the event all week, returned for the final over the Balgownie links.
Kansas State University student Jaffrey used a brilliant short game – single putts on the first four greens and six one-putt greens on the outward half – to surge five up at the turn, having gone out in four under par with birdies at the first, fourth, sixth and ninth.
Young, not at her best, did not win a hole until the 11th but it triggered off a two-under-par run which saw her also win the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th – five in a row, a magnificent fightback by the University of Missouri student which saw her square the match on the 15th green.
Into the wind and rain, Clara’s rally petered out. She bogeyed the 16th to go one down again and then was plugged in the thick and wet rough with her second shot at the 18th, moving the ball only a few feet, and eventually conceded Jaffrey a 10 feet birdie putt to go down by two holes.
Jaffrey said: “I’m extremely proud. It’s a title I’ve been chasing for some time now, really since losing the final three years ago (to Gabrielle Macdonald). I’m really happy with the way I played.
“The key to my success this week was definitely my short game and putting. I holed a number of putts that were crucial throughout matches this week. The Royal Aberdeen greenkeeping team did a great job, especially with the weather conditions we had. Hopefully I can maintain my performances going into the British next week in Wales.”
Young, last week’s winner of the St Rule Trophy and a graduate of the ClubGolf programme, added: “What a superb course and it stayed in excellent condition despite the rain almost every day. I had never played it before this week, but I would love to come back.”
Jaffrey was round in level par to add the Scottish Women’s title to the Scottish Girls’ championship she won in 2013. Young was an approximate one over par for the round, which was her third appearance in the Scottish final. She lost to Alyson McKechin in 2013, but won the title at Monifieth in 2015.