Three Scots earned last gasp places in this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open after coming through Final Qualifying at the Castle Course at St Andrews.
Heather Macrae, Sally Watson and Vikki Laing, as well as four-time major champion Laura Davies, all prevailed in a nail-biting play-off which involved 14 players that finished on two-under-par.
With 11 of the 22 spots up for grabs in extra holes, ten of the 14 players made par on the first play-off hole – the tenth – to progress, with a fourth Scot, Laura Murray, among the four players to bogey the hole and having to go to the 11th to fight it out for the final spot, which eventually went to Spain's Nicole Garcia.
“I’m feeling relief more than anything,” Macrae, who will be playing the Women’s British Open for the first time as a professional, told bunkered.co.uk. “When I finished earlier I thought I was going to be alright so I went to Kingsbarns and walked the course.
“The wind then dropped and we thought, maybe we should head back, so we began expecting the play-off which happened. I wasn’t really nervous although this is the fourth play-off I’ve been in for the Women’s British but never got through.
“I won a play-off to win on the Access Tour a couple of weeks ago so I just thought if I made a par, I’d be through. The last couple of months I’ve been playing really well so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve just got to go and play my own game and see where that takes me.”
Finnish player Ursula Wikstrom was the leading qualifier on five-under-par, with Paula Creamer also qualifying after a four-under-par 68.
It takes the amount of Scots in the field at Kingsbarns to seven, with the trio joining 2009 Women’s British Open champion Catriona Matthew, Carly Booth, Pamela Pretswell and Kylie Henry.
The 22 qualifiers from Final Qualifying at the Castle Course were:
1. Ursula Wikstrom (FIN): -5
T2. Paula Creamer (USA): -4
T2. Tiffany Joh (USA): -4
T2. Ashleigh Bahai (RSA): -4
T5. Lydia Hall (WAL): -3
T5. Awake Uehara (JAP): -3
T5. Min Lee (TPE): -3
T5. Jing Yan (CHI): -3
T5. Ally McDonald (USA): -3
T5. Marissa Steven (USA): -3
T5. My Leander (a) (SWE): -3
Play-off qualifiers (all finished -2)
12. Isi Gabsa (GER)
13. Laura Davies (ENG)
14. Heather Macrae (SCO)
15. Nicole Broch Larsen (DEN)
16. Christine Wolf (AUT)
17. Amelia Lewis (USA)
18. Nicole Garcia (RSA)
19. Sally Watson (SCO)
20. Vikki Laing (SCO)
21. Stacey Peters (AUS)
22. Sophie Lamb (a) (ENG)
Scotland's Laura Murray is first alternate for the event.
Picture credit: Tristan Jones / Ladies European Tour