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AIG Women’s Open: Amateur champion Louise Duncan excited but confident ahead of Carnoustie challenge

Louise Duncan won the Women's Amateur to book her place at Carnoustie.
Louise Duncan won the Women's Amateur to book her place at Carnoustie.

It’s all been a bit of rollercoaster for Louise Duncan this year – but the best ride imaginable for the young Scot making her debut in a pro event at the AIF Women’s Open at Carnoustie.

The 21-year old from West Kilbride won the British Women’s Amateur at Kilmarnock Barassie in record fashion early this year, catapulting her from the relative obscurity of the Scotland and Stirling University golf teams into major championships and visits to Augusta National.

She’s trying to take it all in, but nerves and excitement are flying all over the place.

‘I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight’

“I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight, I didn’t sleep much on Monday night and that was just a practice round!” she said. “I’ll be concentrating on just making contact on the first tee.

“Seriously, it’s really exciting and a bit surreal as well. It’s not been life-changing but certainly career and season-changing, I couldn’t have imagined playing in all this at the start of the season.

“But I’ve played my way into these things, the AIG Women’s Open and the Augusta Women’s Invitational next spring. I’ve given myself these opportunities and it gives me confidence knowing I’ve done that.”

She could hardly have picked out a better three-ball than 2018 champion Georgia Hall and the USA’s Megan Khang for Thursday morning, as well, and she’s had plenty advice from a couple of top people in the last few days.

“I played with Catriona (Matthew) on Tuesday and that was massive,” said Louise. “Just to get her advice about playing here and see how she played the course.

“I haven’t played Carnoustie in a long time and when I did, I wasn’t very good. I played it a few weeks ago when it was flat calm so It’s good to see a bit of wind here today.”

Great advice from top players

Louise also had the chance to play with the outstanding Danish player Emily-Kristine Pedersen in the pro-am before the Women’s Scottish Open last week.

“That was also a great help, and it gave me more confidence to know my game’s not that far away,” she said. “I think I can compete at the highest level and that was a good wee stepping stone for me.”

The other key to Louise’s confidence will be having Stirling Uni head coach Dean Robertson on the bag. The former European Tour pro caddied for her in all the matchplay rounds at Barassie and his advice proved crucial.

“After that it would have been rude not to ask him to be here as well,” she added. “He just knows the situations as they arise, and he has so much experience.

“There were a few different things that worked so well at Barassie I wouldn’t have done had he not been there. He knows how to play, and he keeps me calm as well.”

Louise feels part of something brewing in Scottish Golf right now.

“We’ve got five players here which is great,” she said. “Hannah (Darling) won the British Girls and played so well as she always does, and the guys are doing well with two wins on the European Tour.

“Everyone is playing off each other and you’d have to be daft not to see that Scottish golf is on the rise right now.”

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