St Andrews schoolgirl takes senior title at Dunhill

15 year old Lauren Whyte, a member of the Scottish junior golf team, has taken the Senior Girls title at this year's Alfred Dunhill Schools Challenge on a rain swept Kittocks Course at Fairmont St Andrews.
15 year old Lauren Whyte, a member of the Scottish junior golf team, has taken the Senior Girls title at this year's Alfred Dunhill Schools Challenge on a rain swept Kittocks Course at Fairmont St Andrews.

FIFTEEN-year-old Lauren Whyte, a member of the Scottish junior golf team, has taken the senior girls’ title at this year’s Alfred Dunhill Schools Challenge on a rain swept Kittocks Course at Fairmont St Andrews.

The day started fine, but heavy rain moved in during the afternoon to make further play impossible with many of the players called in before they could complete their full round. As a result the Senior Boys and Senior Girls group winners were decided over the front nine holes with this year’s Junior Boys champion being awarded from results over just the front six.

Because of the weather and the curtailed nature of the event officials also decided not to award the overall scratch prize.

Following the revised scoring in the Boys’ categories, Scott Fleming of Balwearie High School in Kirkcaldy, who plays off a handicap of 26, was awarded the senior prize with a net score of 32. Ben Rooney, from Inverkeithing High School, playing off a 27 handicap, took the honours in the junior competition with a net score of 23.

In one of the closest contests of the day, Lauren Whyte from Madras College, took the senior girls’ crown after scoring a net 40 on the front nine. Playing off an impressive handicap of two she won on a count back against Shannen McGuire of Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline.

A member and current club champion of St Regulus Ladies Golf Club in St Andrews, Lauren comes from a golfing family. She plays the sport regularly with her father and elder brother, Andrew, who was himself an Alfred Dunhill Schools Challenge winner in 2007.

She currently plays for the Scottish junior team and spent the summer playing a number of tournaments including the European Young Masters in Hungary where Scotland finished in the top 10.

She told the Citizen: ‘‘I have been playing golf since I was five and managed to get my first handicap when I was eight.

‘‘I love watching women’s golf, especially Paula Creamer, who is a great role model for me. I also had the privilege of playing a round with Catriona Matthew at Archerfield last year. She was very nice and it was a really inspiring day for me.

“I would love to go to an American university where I could continue to work on my golf but, in the meantime, would like to maintain my position on the national team. I have just been named to the Scottish national training squad which will give me a great opportunity to get more training and coaching and will hopefully help me keep my place on the national team.”

The reward for the winners is to be invited to receive their Alfred Dunhill Schools Challenge prizes at the Old Course on the final day of this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship next Sunday, October 2.

Along with all other Schools Challenge competitors, they will also be invited, together with their parents and a school representative, to attend an exclusive golf clinic on the Championship practice ground given by the internationally renowned golf coach Robert Baker, who said: “I congratulate all the winners, and everyone who took part in what were atrocious conditions.’’