Hannah Darling confirmed her growing reputation as the rising star of Scottish golf when she captured the St Rule Trophy on the Old Course at St Andrews in a record-equalling performance.
The 17-year-old from Broomieknowe, who will start at the University of South Carolina in August, matched the record 17-under 208 aggregate set by Hazel McGarvie two years ago in winning one of the most prestigious titles in women’s amateur golf.
Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew – twice – are among former winners of the event.
Old Course win a huge thrill for Darling
The St Rule Trophy 2021 Champion is Hannah Darling!
A 3 shot victory with an amazing score of-18 sees her join a list of winners including Catriona Matthew, Annika Sorenstam and Mel Reid
Massive congras to Hannah,it's been a blast having tournament play back at the Home of Golf! pic.twitter.com/VOHjhBdxfa
— St Andrews Links (@TheHomeofGolf) May 30, 2021
The youngest-ever winner of the Scottish Girls’ Championship at just 13 and first winner of the R&A Girls U-16 championship, Darling has captured a string of top titles and played for Europe in the Junior Solheim Cup.
But winning on the Old Course was a huge thrill for the Edinburgh teenager.
“You think of all the great players who have walked that 18th fairway on their way to win championships and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to do that,” she said after her final round 71.
Nursing a three shot lead down the stretch over 2018 champion Clara Young of North Berwick, Darling’s final tee shot was just a little too close to The Links up the right for comfort.
But it finished inside the boundary fence and she was able to hit a wedge to 12 feet and two putts from there to confirm her win.
Scots finished in all the top three places with Young finishing second and Milngavie’s Lorna McClymont finishing a further shot back on 14-under.
Barrow claim’s Men’s title at Southerness
Get all the reaction from the @EnglandGolf internationalist in our end of event report 👇
— Scottish Golf (@ScottishGolf) May 30, 2021
Meanwhile Manchester United youth player Callan Barrow followed in the footsteps of another Lancastrian who went on to great things when he lifted the Scottish Men’s Open Amateur title at Southerness.
The 23-year-old from Royal Lytham and St Annes was the latest Englishman to win the premier Scottish strokeplay title and is in good company with Ryder Cup players Tommy Fleetwood and Andy Sullivan both former winners.
Barrow put distance between himself and the field with a five-under 64 on Sunday morning which gave him two shots’ breathing space over compatriot James Wilson. The margin was three by the end even when the player from Close House near Newcastle birdied the final two holes.
Barrow had four birdies in six holes down the back nine to eventually finish in a 15-under total aggregate of 261.
“It feels amazing. It’s been a good few years so to finally get a big win is amazing,” said the new champion. “We couldn’t have asked for three better days of weather and luckily I performed pretty well.
“The last three days have been incredible. My game’s been pretty solid. The putter has probably been the hottest thing in the bag which was needed round here.
“The course was in great condition, but the greens were getting really firm and fast towards the end. It was tough even though the weather was pretty kind to us.
“I’ve been told that guys like Tommy Fleetwood and Andy Sullivan have got their names on this trophy. I wouldn’t mind doing what they are doing now.”
Easton the leading Scot in third
The leading Scot in the field was Irvine’s Stuart Easton who held a one-shot lead over Barrow at the halfway stage. But he could not quite replicate the form which saw him fire rounds of 63 and 66 over the first two days.
He went on to card two rounds of 70 to drop back into third place on seven-under.
“I’ve got mixed emotions,” said the Western Kentucky University student. “I didn’t have my best stuff today. I hit the ball pretty well but the putter went a little bit cold.
“I’ve been outplayed by two guys who played some really great golf. You have to take your hat off to them. Congratulations to Callan and James.
“It was great to play in the final group today,” he added. “That’s what you practise for. That’s where you want to be. You want to be in contention and be playing against the players that are playing well.”
Kirkhill’s Lewis Irvine was the best scorer over the 36 holes on Sunday with rounds of 64 and 66 to move up into a share of fourth place alongside English international Haider Hussain on six under par 270.