The annual University of St Andrews Schoolgirls Championship saw 35 young, up and coming women golfers from around the world come together to compete at the renowned Home of Golf.
The tournament, which is now in its third year, took place over the first weekend of August. After playing 54 holes over the weekend, battling the wind and facing up to the most unforgiving bunkers in the world, it was Scotland’s own Katy Alexander from Blairgowrie Golf Club, fresh from winning the Scottish Girls’ Amateur Championship, who finished top of the leader board at one under par to take the Powell Cup.
The annual tournament is organised and run by the University of St Andrews Ladies Golf Club and named after Renee Powell, one of the first African American women to play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s (LGPA) Tour.
Powell began her professional career in 1967, playing in more than 250 tournaments around the world and is currently head professional golfer at Clearview Golf Course in Ohio. She is known for her work to attract more young female golfers to the sport and in 2008 was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of St Andrews.
The Schoolgirls Championship is supported by the R&A and the Links Trust and is part of the Scottish Golf Order of Merit. Competitors play three rounds over the Eden course, the Strathtyrum Course and the Jubilee Course at the St Andrews Links. The tournament is a Strokeplay competition for golfers with a handicap of 12 and below and a Stableford competition for golfers with a handicap between 12.5 and 24.
Carys Irvine from Craiglaw Golf Club triumphed to take the handicap prize in this year’s competition, with Olivia Steel from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, who came top of the Stableford leader board with 122 points to take the Carol Kaufman Shield.
The second-tier competition is played in honour of Carol Kaufman, Chair of the US Women’s Open, who has supported golf at the University for many years. Carol, who had travelled from San Francisco and presented the prizes on behalf of Renee, said: “I want to thank the University of St Andrews for creating this tournament and the University Ladies’ Golf Club for organising it. We wanted the girls to have the same opportunity that young men have.
“These are great times for you [girls]. You’re learning to play a game that has changed my life, which is why I wanted to give back and see the University have an opportunity to develop girls who can come and play here as well.”
Annually, the President of the University of St Andrews Ladies Golf Club has the honour of planning and organising this tournament alongside the committee.
Tournament organiser Jade Tsang said: “We hope the girls have come away from the tournament with valuable experience and a sense of independence for future competitions. It is in these junior tournaments where lifelong friendships and unbreakable teams are formed, and one day we hope that these girls will be competing together when they represent their countries.”
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.Sport