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Old links is just kids' stuff for Dimmock

The fledgling met the venerable at Royal Troon yesterday as the bright young things of the women's amateur game strutted their stuff on the grand old Ayrshire links.

nnabel Dimmock sealed victory with an 11-under aggregate score of 214. Picture: Elspeth Burnside
nnabel Dimmock sealed victory with an 11-under aggregate score of 214. Picture: Elspeth Burnside

In the end, it was 17-year-old Annabel Dimmock, of Surrey, who claimed the Helen Holm Scottish Open Strokeplay title with local lass Connie Jaffrey, another highly talented teen, taking the runners-up spot. Olivia Mehaffey, a 16-year-old from across the water in County Down, zipped around the rigorous Open Championship venue in 68 blows to take third. It really was kids' stuff.

Dimmock had led from the start, with opening rounds of 70 and 71 over Troon Portland, and took a commanding five-shot advantage into the final round on formidable Royal Troon. Leading from the front is never easy in this game, of course. "As soon as you start thinking you have five shots to play with, that's when they start catching you," said the Wentworth member.

A closing two-under 73 kept her rivals at bay, though, and gave her a gun-to-tape victory by a margin of three shots with an 11-under aggregate of 214.

It was not quite a procession but it was another purposeful statement of intent from the English teenager, who claimed a notable victory in the prestigious Jones Doherty Challenge Cup in America at the turn of the year. With Tegwen Matthews, the GB&I Curtis Cup captain, peering on from the sidelines yesterday, Dimmock has done her chances of a call-up for June's match in the US no harm at all.

Two years ago, English teenager Charley Hull was a member of the GB&I side that won the Curtis Cup at Nairn. Hull has since turned professional and has made the kind of earth-shattering impact usually associated with mega-meteors. "Charley has opened our eyes and she's had a massive effect on girls' golf," added Dimmock. "She has shown that there's not a big difference between the top amateur and the professionals."

The Scottish drought in the Helen Holm event stretches back to 2002 and Jaffrey, the national girls' champion and a member of Troon Ladies, emerged as the most likely contender to quench that drooth. A couple of birdies early on kept her clinging to the coat tails of Dimmock but the gap was too vast to bridge.

Nevertheless, a four-under 71 for an eight-under 217 put the tin lid on an impressive and productive weekend. "It was a great effort and these have been the best three rounds I've had over these two courses," admitted the 17-year-old, who will head to the US in August to begin a golf scholarship in Kansas.

Mehaffey, the Irish Girls' Strokeplay Champion, illuminated her rousing seven-under card with an eagle-3 on the 15th, where she plonked a 5-iron into 12-feet and trundled in the putt with aplomb. It was good, but not that good.

"I actually had an eight-under score in the Cork Scratch Cup three weeks ago," said Mehaffey, who made the cut on the Ladies European Tour in Morocco last month.

They're not bad, these kids.

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