Scotland’s Hannah Darling leads the field at The 118th Women’s Amateur Championship after the first round of qualifying.
Darling recorded an opening round of five-under-par 68 at Kilmarnock (Barassie) to lead by three shots from 2019 Women’s Amateur Champion Emily Toy of England.
England’s Lottie Woad, Amy Taylor and Ellie Gower as well as Hulda Clara Gestsdóttir of Iceland recorded rounds of one-under-par 72 to be tied third with a group of five players recording even-par rounds.
The top 64 players after two rounds of qualifying will advance to the match play stage of the Championship.
Eagle the highlight for Darling
Getting off to a fast start the 17-year-old recorded birdies at the par-5 1st hole and par-4 2nd hole, a dropped shot at the par-4 6th was quickly mitigated with a birdie at the par-4 9th hole to make the turn on two-under 35.
The highlight of Darling’s round came on the par-5 11th hole, where a well-placed drive down the left side of the fairway and a pitching wedge into the green gave her a 15-foot eagle opportunity which she duly rolled in.
The teenager from Broomieknowe dropped a shot at the 14th but closed out her round with birdies at the par-5 16thhole and par-4 18th hole.
Darling commented after her round, “I was just really steady out there today, hit the shots when I needed. It’s a good start.
“The course is playing quite long this week, and I am one of the longer hitters this week so it almost suits me. If you are hitting it in the right places there are a few pins that are easy to get to.”
Who do you want to see in the Director's Chair? 🎥— The R&A (@RandA) June 7, 2021
Throughout the week @harping_on will be getting to to know the next Legends in the Making and taking you behind the scenes at #TheWomensAmateur 🏌️♀️
The next big interview is coming soon.... 🎬 pic.twitter.com/U8safRLVAL
In-form Darling eyes another title
Darling enters The Women’s Amateur Championship in fine form having recently won the St Rule Trophy on the Old Course and yesterday reaching the semi-final of the Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship.
She added, “I wasn’t here for the practice round yesterday but I played two practice rounds here a few weeks ago so I have an idea of the course and I could prepare for what it was going to give us.
“This is one of the highlights, it is one of the biggest events that we play and the field is always good. So it’s high up there in terms of priority for me. It is nice to come in with a bit of form and it’s a nice event to peak at.”
Women’s Amateur Champion toys with second title
Toy, who won The Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019 and reached the semi-final last year has once again claimed the limelight at the prestigious Championship.
A birdie at the 1st hole showed her intentions early and she added a further three to her scorecard at the 7th, 10thand 11th but it was the eagle on the par-5 16th that was the highlight of the day for an out of form Toy.
“It was a good round. I had been struggling with a bit of form but it was nice to get out there today and finally hit the ball a little bit better. To finish with 2-under was a good score,” said Toy.
“I made an eagle here on 16. I hit a really nice 4 iron in there. I’ve actually got some new clubs in the bag this week so it was a nice shot in with about a 6 footer for the eagle.
“I played pretty safe today I have to say, I was trying to be a little more positional off the tee. I love to get the driver out but today I just tried to keep it in the fairways; they are pretty firm and fast so if you can hit them you can get a nice bounce forward. It was all about avoiding the bunkers off the tee and putting it in position.”
The second round of qualifying tees off at Barassie at 7am on Tuesday, 8 June with Darling on course at 12.11pm.
Live scoring, news and video can be followed on The R&A’s website and social media platforms.