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Duncan headlines in Portugal

Scotland’s Louise Duncan heads into the first R&A Student Tour Series event of 2022 as clear favourite to take the title for a second time at Troia Golf Resort just south of Portuguese capital Lisbon. Duncan, who turned 22 on the 1 February, is returning to a venue she knows well.

 

The West Kilbride Golf Club member won the 2020 R&A Student Tour Series – Portugal event by 12 shots. She used that victory as a base from which to win last year’s Women’s Amateur Championship and the Smyth Salver as leading amateur in the AIG Women’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

Like everyone else in golf, Duncan had to kick her heels for most of 2020 and parts of 2021 because of Covid-19 cancelling tournaments, including a chance to defend her Troia title last year. However, the layoff didn’t dampen the University of Stirling student’s desire to add more trophies to her cabinet. 

 

Duncan emerges as rising star

 

“That win in Portugal signalled Louise’s emergence as a rising star,” said former European Tour professional Dean Robertson, University of Stirling's high performance golf coach. “Troia’s an incredible golf course, and not for the faint hearted, especially for those who struggle to find fairways. Louise had no problem that week. She’s used to playing tough, windy courses.”

 

Rounds of 71, 69 and 72 backed up Robertson’s claim. Four tournaments later and Duncan proved yet again that she revels on hard golf layouts. Her Women’s Amateur Championship win at Kilmarnock(Barassie) Golf Club last June thrust her firmly into the limelight. She backed up that win by holding her own among the best women professionals with a 10th place finish in the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie to take low amateur honours. 

 

A place in the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team followed. No wonder Duncan travels to Portugal as the 29th best player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), the highest ranked player in the field.

 

Five returnees from 2020

 

Duncan is one of five players returning to Troia from the 2020 field along with Stirling teammates Penelope Brown, Lorna McClymont and Nicola Slater, and the Maynooth University’s Clodagh Walsh. Brown finished second to Duncan two years ago, while Slater won the R&A Student Tour Series – Scotland over the Fairmont Torrance Course in St Andrews last September. McClymont is also a Series winner, she edged Brown to win the R&A Student Tour Series – Ireland event at Carton House last September.

 

Kitt aiming for second series win

 

Ireland’s David Kitt also travels to Portugal as an R&A Student Tour Series winner. The Maynooth player took the R&A Student Tour Series – Scotland men’s title last year. He finished one shot better than England’s Ben Quick thanks to a closing 64 over the Fairmont Torrance course following rounds of 71 and 69. Like Duncan, the Athenry Golf Club member also has form around Troia: he finished third in the 2020 tournament.

 

Quick looking to build on two ’21 wins

 

University of Exeter player Quick is the second highest ranked player on the men’s side of the draw at 849th on the WAGR table. Only Floris Veth of The Netherlands, a student at Saxion University of Applied Sciences, ranks higher at 843rd. Quick had two wins last year, the Welsh Open Youths and the BUCS Golf Tour – Northern Tournament at Blackpool North Shore Golf Club, where he had three scores in the 60s (66, 68 and 67) to notch the win.

 

More information and live scoring from the Student Tour Series can be found here.