Champ Gabrielle looks to use home advantage

Gabrielle MacDonald with the Scottish Women's Amateur Championship.
Gabrielle MacDonald with the Scottish Women's Amateur Championship.

St Andrews student Gabrielle MacDonald will play in the local 54-hole St Rule Trophy tournament at St Andrews this weekend.

The event will be MacDonald’s first since wrapping up last weekend’s 100th Scottish women’s amateur championship at Prestwick.

Before she beat 17-year-old Connie Jaffrey at the 19th hole of the final at Prestwick, MacDonald said that finishing fifth (behind winner and St Andrews University team-mate Ailsa Summers) in last year’s St Rule Trophy was her highest achievement in golf.

MacDonald has just completed the third year of a geography degree course and one of her classmates, Gary Dalzniel, is not only her boyfriend but he caddied the champion every step of the way at Prestwick.

A different format for the St Rule Trophy will be introduced this weekend.

Instead of having the second and third rounds over the Old Course on Sunday, the programme will be 36 holes over the New Course on Saturday with a fresh draw for the final round on Sunday morning.

This is thought to be a more competitor-friendly schedule, especially for the far-travelled players who have not been able to start off back home until late on the Sunday evening, particularly when there has to be a play-off.

There will be no 36-hole cut but with an 8.00a.m. start, the tournament should be completed by mid-afternoon.

The leading players at the end of Saturday will go off last in the Sunday draw.

Alison White, chairman of the organising committee said: “Despite the newly selected GB and I team for the Curtis Cup match being unable to play as they are already in America having preparatory practice sessions, the entry for the St Rule Trophy was oversubscribed by 100 per cent at the closing date for entry.

“The field comprises 60 players and this includes entrants from: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Scotland, England, France, Ireland, USA and Wales.”