WEST Lancs teen sensation Hollie Muse shot nine-under par to win the Scottish U16 girls’ open championship – and proved herself a real comeback kid.
Last summer the England international appeared odds-on to win the English U15 title, only to lose after a last-hole reversal. The experience was on her mind as she approached the 36-hole Scottish strokeplay at Strathmore, but this time there were no setbacks.
The 15-year-old announced her intentions with a course record of seven-under-par 65 in the first round and followed up with a two-under 70 in round two. It gave her a three-stroke win over Scotland’s Shannon McWilliam, while England’s Emily Price took third place on two-under.
Her success crowned a great day for England. Muse, together with Price, the English U15 champion from Cleobury Mortimer, and Martha Lewis (St George’s Hill), won the team event for England.
There was more local success as third place went to England’s Team B, which included Prestbury’s Bel Wardle. What’s more, the top 15 on the leaderboard included 10 English players.
Afterwards Hollie said: “I can’t believe it. I’m so happy I started crying! After the U15s and what happened there I am just so happy to win the Scottish. It ruined me at the time, but I picked myself up and came here and it’s amazing to have shot the scores I did.
“I think I have learned. I played the course, not the other players, and I told myself I was just having a knock with my friends. That really helped, it was a good way to do it.”
She was strongly challenged for the title. McWilliam was three behind after the first round, but played her first nine holes today in four under and had narrowed the gap to one shot after 27 holes. However, Muse played her back nine in level par, while the Scottish player was two-over.
Muse is a prodigious hitter and her length off the tee was one of her advantages. In the first round she drove the par four 16th and over the two rounds she was seven-under for the par fives.
She also performed well on the greens, using a new putter which she acquired only five days ago. It let her down just once, on her second hole of today’s round, but the double bogey was sandwiched between two birdies. Altogether she had 11 birdies and an eagle over the 36 holes.
England Golf girls’ coach Scott Godfrey commented: “Hollie is a stand-out player and her first round was real class. She was a little bit nervous today but she handled it really well.”
Muse is the fifth English player to win this title in six years, following Alice Hewson in 2013, Gabriella Cowley, Emily Taylor and Bronte Law. She is also a past winner of the English U13 championship and last year helped England to win both the girls’ and ladies’ Home Internationals.