TROON, SCOTLAND (April 24, 2016) - Olivia Winning has won the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship at Royal Troon for a second time.
The 21 year-old from Rotherham Golf Club won the title in 2013, and this is her first victory in any tournament since then. Given she was four shots off the lead going into the final round, she was surprised to find she was in with a chance of the title.
All eyes had been on another Olivia, Olivia Mehaffey, from Royal County Down Ladies Golf Club who had topped the leaderboard after days one and two. Bogeys at 13, 14 and 15 meant the Irish player slipped back in her final round, to then share the lead with Winning.
A further bogey at the seventeenth meant she fell behind by a shot, leaving Winning biting her nails in the clubhouse and “freaking out” at the thought she might win. And she did, with her 72 par final round enough to see her through when Mehaffey was unable to pull it back on the final hole and force a play-off.
For Winning, from the same club as Masters winner Danny Willetts, the title brings a couple of difficult years to an end. “I am so excited, it’s special”, she said after being presented with the Helen Holm Trophy and silver gilt medal for a second time.
“It’s a difficult course but I think I’ve played it enough times now to have found my way round. I played it really well back in 2013 when I won and this year I just kept it simple. I wasn’t as mad with the birdies as I was last time, just kept it steady and it worked out in the end.
“I’ve been working on my swing constantly in the last two years. When I came up in 2013, I was hitting it well and I knew I was hitting it well and I could go out there with confidence. This year it was a more conservative approach as my swing is not in a great place. It’s getting better but I’m still not happy with where it is so it’s nice just to get a bit of confidence back.
“I love Scotland, I love Troon, this is my favourite tournament, my favourite golf course and I couldn’t be happier. If there is one tournament I’d want to win in a year, it’s this one and to have done it twice now is incredible. I’m super happy.”
As well as winning the silver medal for her second placed scored of 218, Olivia Mehaffey won the Ladies’ Club Silver Salver for the best team performance along with Chloe Ryan of Castletroy Golf Club. The bronze medal was won by Maria Dunne of Skerries Golf Club who finished a shot behind on 219.
Shannon McWilliam was the top Scot, who finished tied for eighteenth after a disappointing eight over final round. Hazel MacGarvie from Troon Ladies tied for twenty first place with Ailsa Summers, who used her experience from Carnoustie Ladies Golf Club to work the conditions and card a two-over 74 on the final day.
She said: “The game in general is difficult regardless of whether there is any wind. I’m a links player, I’ve grown up playing on it and have a good idea of how to cope with it more than others, so I like these days as I know I have a bit of an advantage.
“I haven’t played much this year and my last tournament was in September. For me it was just about lowering expectations and making my own par as par 72 was out the window when the wind got up so I thought if I can get it round in three, four, five over, that would be quite good so in my eyes, I was more like two under.”