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Women’s Scottish Open: Michele Thomson impresses mentor Paul Lawrie with opening 65 to lead at Dumbarnie

Michele Thomson on the golf course.
Michele Thomson is one shot off the lead at the Women's NSW Open.

Michele Thomson’s eagle that launched her toward the lead in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open got an uncommon reaction from one committed observer at Dumbarnie Links.

The Aberdeen player had bogeyed the first but her three at the long second kickstarted things to a brilliant seven-under 65 – a new course record. The men’s record, at 63, is actually held by the man watching her, former Open champion Paul Lawrie.

Lawrie is not always given to demonstrative reactions, but when Michele – attached to his 5sport management agency and a long-time protégé – made her three, he was suitably impressed.

‘He needs to come back!’

“I didn’t see Paul going down the first,” said Michele. “But I hit a great shot into the second and eagled it. Then turned around to see him and he’s like, “Oooh.”

“It’s just really nice to have him there and every time I hit a good shot he was so supportive. He needs to come back!

“He’s great. He’s so supportive, but he generally leaves you to yourself unless you want some advice or tips from him, then he’s all in.”

Lawrie stayed the whole 18 and gave a fist-bump to Michele after she birdied the 18th for an immediate lead. Early starters would seem to have had the best of conditions on the opening day, with the wind starting to get up.

“Obviously it was great to have friends and family out,” said Thomson, with a limited number of guests able to be present. “To play that well in front of Paul, I think it’s the first time he’s seen me play for a while and I’ve been struggling, really.

‘It was so nice I kept it for here’

Caddie Hadley Trenfield with Michele.

“I’ve actually been hitting the ball great for like a long time.  It’s difficult to explain but I’ve been hitting the ball good but not scoring well.  I knew that there was a good round in me at some point. It was just so nice that obviously I kept it for here.”

The only thing Michele has changed has been her caddie, Hadley Trenfield, who was a calming influence both during the round and before.

“They had opened the tee times up (after the pro am on Wednesday),” continued  Michele. “I said I’d like to go play in the wind, because we’ve had two practise days with nothing.

“Hadley just said, ` I think you’re hitting it really good.  There’s nothing we need to do more.  You just have to get up in the morning and play whatever the conditions.’

“That was perfect conditions we had there, out at 7 am. When you’ve got your 3.30 alarm clock, you’re thinking, oh no.

“But there’s nothing better than playing on a links course at that time of the morning with perfect conditions.”

’65 in Scotland feels a bit better’

It counts as the best round of her career, which restarted after a spell when she briefly tried the police as alternative employment.

“I shot a course record in India a couple years ago and finished second there,” she continued. “But although that was one shot better, to do it here, shoot 65 in Scotland, feels a bit better.

“The birdies, they were all great drives and 100 yards, wedge shots in and I hit them really close.  I was just firing at the pins and it felt great.”

Dad Graham, who suffered a heart attack caddying for her in Finland just a month ago but has recovered well, was also able to walk round with her.

“It’s great to have him here again,” added Michele. “It’s been quite a tough time with Dad obviously. I just haven’t been concentrating on my golf.

“But that just shows me that golf’s just golf and just get on with it and whatever happens, that’s life.”

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