Counting the Scottish connections at the AIG Women’s Open

Bernie McGuire
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Counting the Scottish connections at the AIG Women’s Open

Louise Duncan and Anna Nordqvist celebrate with their trophies on the 18th green after the final round of the AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

It was getting more like who didn’t have a Scottish connection at the prize-giving for the 2021 AIG Women’s Open Championship at Carnoustie. In writing this article, I am going to mention 10 direct Scottish links to both the champion, Anna Nordqvist and the Low Amateur winner, Louise Duncan.

We started the week in Scotland with the event run by the St. Andrews-based Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) and ended with Swedish-born Nordqvist ending a four-year winless drought since capturing a second major at the 2017 Evan Masters to win a third major championship by a stroke thanks to a closing round 69 to win by a shot at 12-under par on a glorious Carnoustie Sunday afternoon.

Nordqvist’s husband is Scottish-born Kevin McAlpine who had caddied for Lexi Thompson in 2017 when the event was held at Kingsbarns Links, just east of St. Andrews.

The McAlpine’s were married in March but under ‘Covid-19′ restrictions. They intend to have a proper wedding following next month’s Solheim Cup. The church they’ve chosen for the wedding is located just 15-mins from Carnoustie. McAlpine has been caddying since the start of the year for fellow Scot Martin Laird on the PGA Tour. Nordqvist’s caddy is Scottish born, Paul Cormack.

For the 34-year-old Nordqvist it is her 12th tour win and with Nordqvist officially confirmed for a seventh European team cap at the Solheim Cup after she set up victory at Carnoustie with a 65 on day three, the lowest score all week.

She said: “I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. I haven’t won in a couple of years.  There’s been a lot of downs and a lot of hard times, so I think this win makes it feel even sweeter.

“I have my husband, Kevin here and for me every single year since the Evian, and when I won last time, along with Paul Cormack my caddy.  He’s been my rock on the golf course and always been there for me.

“I could only dream about winning the British Open and congrats to Louise on your fantastic play. I was an amateur here in 2008 so after a lot of hard work, I am just so happy to be here.

“And it’s just 20-minutes away from here Kevin and I will be properly married in a few weeks’ time.”

England’s Georgia Hall (67), Swede Madeline Sagstrom (68) and American Lizette Salas (69) shared second place at 11-under par.

Reading back, I think I have already mentioned six Scottish connections.

Moving to the Low Amateur salver; it went to 21-year-old West Kilbride-born Duncan.  Duncan, the reigning Women’s Amateur champ, went into the final found just as brilliant sunshine broke out over the famed Angus course with Duncan earning wild applause when she birdied the opening hole for a second day running.

Duncan, with her Stirling University coach and former Italian Open winning caddie, Scottish-born Dean Robertston on the bag, then produced seven pars before a bogey on nine. The young Scot then brilliantly birdied 10 and 11 before finishing her off her round bogey, par, bogey with the packed grandstands around the 18th rising to applaud Duncan.

She said: “I am really happy how I played and I could not be anymore proud of myself. I was a little disappointed in my finish and it’s a little to be expected but to shoot 72 is still a really good score.

“I was a wee bit nervous heading out today, and felt a bit sick but once I rolled-in that birdie putt on the first I felt really fine. Then coming down the last, I felt good and not nervous at all.  It’s just a shame I didn’t hole that par putt on the last.”

Duncan was assured the Low Amateur medal following the second round with two other amateurs in a field of five making the cut.   Her closest rival, Castlewarden’s Lauren Walsh finished eight strokes behind her.

Organisers were permitted to allow 8,000 fans to enter each day over the four days and all seemed to be around the 72nd green to welcome Duncan.

She said: “It did take some time over the early rounds to get used to all the spectators watching our matches, so I think it will stand me in good stead for next week’s Curtis Cup.”

Duncan will now join her GB&I Curtis Cup team-mates, including Hannah Darling, in teeing-up on the Conwy course in Wales.

If I’m correct I’ve managed 10 Scottish connections among the two welcomed to the prize-giving ceremony at the close of the 2021 AIG Women’s Open Championship. Time for a wee dram!

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