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Women’s Scottish Open: Ryann O’Toole reconsiders possible retirement after securing elusive first win

Ryann O'Toole with the Scottish Open trophy.
Ryann O'Toole with the Scottish Open trophy.

After 11 years and nearly 230 events without a win on the LPGA Tour, Ryann O’Toole was pondering retirement. Then her caddie beat her to it unexpectedly on the eve of the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open.

It must have been fate. The 34-year-old American finally broke through at Dumbarnie Links, almost with ease. A final round 64 left the quality field three shots behind and provided her maiden title at last.

After all the toils and the feeling that she wanted to do something else with her life – she gets married later this year and wants a family – she has her win, and might be reconsidering.

‘I don’t know if I could stop after this’

“Words cannot describe what I’m feeling right now,” she said. “I was really thinking, how much longer am I going to be out here.

“I thought maybe this year would be my last year although I haven’t even really announced that. I’ve been kind of playing it by ear.

“Now, I really don’t know! I’ve never wanted to be a mom on Tour as far as having a kid and doing all that. It doesn’t sound fun to me.

“But at the same time, I don’t know if I could stop playing golf after this.”

Brilliant 64 makes for a cruise to victory

Another putt drops for O’Toole on her perfect Sunday.

After all the hardwork, the travel and trials down the years, it almost seemed to come easy. O’Toole was not perhaps the first choice among the final three groups loaded with star names, but she actually cruised to victory.

She comfortably outplayed playing partners Charley Hull and 2018 Scottish champion Ariya Jutanugan. Thailand’s teenage star Atthaya Thitikul threatened and then fell away with two bogeys on the back nine as O’Toole stayed steady, not putting a foot wrong.

Lydia Ko finished strongly with an eagle on the short par four 17th to equal the new course record of 63 – beaten twice on a beautiful but calm day – but O’Toole birdied 15 and then 17 as well to have a three shot cushion coming down 18.

Caddie quit in tears because of homesickness

It was also her first week with new caddie Mikey Curry, who replaced Reid Martin. Martin had quit in tears at the end of the recent Evian Championship, tired of tour life and homesick.

“What are you supposed to do? You can’t get mad or upset at that,” she said. “I would have loved him to stick around for the British, but I guess this worked out in the end.

“I wanted Mikey to caddie for me at the start of the season but he was committed to Sophia (Popov). When they split after the Evian, it was the right time. And it’s all worked out.”

She also always felt that links golf suited her personality, once she’s got to grips with it.

Links golf ‘kicked my butt’

“First time, it kicked my butt,” she said of the 2012 Women’s Open at Hoylake. “After that I was, wow, there’s so much to learn and change and grasp on this style of golf.

“But I fell in love with it, how to hit a really low tee shot, how to play the contours of the green and the course.

“I just feel like I love this style of golf. It challenges the ball-striker, and I feel like that suits me. To have this be my first win, it seems fitting.”

Ko and Thitikul finished tied for second, with Jutanugarn, who never got going until the final few holes, finishing fourth. Hull, despite shooting 69 for four successive days, was alone in fifth.

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