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MacDonald beats Jaffrey to win Scottish Womens Amateur

26th May 2014

(This report reproduced courtesy Colin Farquharson)

Gabrielle MacDonald, 21 year-old St Andrews University student from Edinburgh, beat the top seed, 17-year-old Connie Jaffrey (Troon Ladies) at the 19th hole in a 4hr 6min marathon final climax to the 100th Scottish women's amateur golf championship at Prestwick Golf Club, birthplace of the Open.

Craigielaw Golf Club member Gabrielle was the 10th of the 32 qualifiers for the match-play stages so she entered the championship match very much the underdog against Connie who marked her debut in the event by being the leading qualifier and beating Curtis Cup debutante Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm) in the semi-finals (Eilidh's older sister Megan lost to MacDonald in the other penultimate tie.

It was a classic match-play final with first one player, then the other holding the whiphand. Gabrielle, who fancies finding out, once she has graduated, whether or not she is a good enough golfer to make the grade in the pro ranks, was in the driving seat after nine holes - two up, after shaking off a potentially demoralsing double-bogey 6 start to birdie the third, eighth and ninth.

Young Jaffrey, runner-up in the recent "Helen Holm" Scottish stroke play at Troon, then had her purple patch to win the 10th, 11th and 12th, the latter two holes with birdies, to transform her position into a one-hole lead.

But MacDonald, who said later she never felt under real pressure at any time, square the contest with a pitch-and-putt par 4 at the 13th and then birdied the 16th with a pitching wedge approach and an 8ft putt to go one up.

Jaffrey, who enrols at Kansas State University in August, was not yet to admit defeat against an opponent who would not be subued. Connie birdied the 17th to draw level again. With the tension mounting,

MacDonald, with nerves of steel, holed a 5ft putt at the 18th for a half in 4. Jaffrey had completed the 18 holes in an approximate 75 (one over par) to MacDonald's 76

Banishing memories of her double bogey 6 at the opening hole around four hours earlier, MacDonald produced a cast-iron 4 to a bogey 5 by Jaffrey who had missed the green left with her approach and had to pitch over a bunker.

"I just ran out of shots," said Connie when it was over. "I'm a little bit down, having had such a great week and not being able to finish it off with a win but I'll get over it."

MacDonald said: "I was always comfortable and just tried to play my own game, hit the fairways, stay out of trouble and keep hitting greens. I enjoyed it immensely but I feel a little bit sorry for Connie who has had an
outstanding week. At 17 she is a great prospect for Scottish ladies golf to have."

Next year's Scottish women's amateur championship will be played at Monifieth.

FINAL - Gabrielle MacDonald (Craigielaw) bt Connie Jaffrey (Troon Ladies) at 19th.

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