University of Stirling golfer Louise Duncan embarks on the most important fortnight of her career this week with back-to-back debuts in two of the world’s top competitions.
The 21 year-old earned her place in this week’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie having won the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock Barassie in June, the first Scot to claim the title since 1997.
Next week she competes for GB & Ireland in the Curtis Cup, taking on the best USA amateurs in Conway, North Wales.
It’s little surprise that 2021 has been the best season yet for the Sport Studies student who triumphed where others have been set back by the pandemic.
When golf courses shut last year she kept practising in her garden, at the same time re-discovering her love for game.
She said: “I think the Covid year was important, just to restart and find a love for the game again”.
“But once we were back to the golf course it was a privilege and I actually realised how much I enjoyed the game. I also realised how hard I wanted to work over the winter.”
When competitions resumed this year it was not the perfect start for Duncan who was disqualified on her first outing. But she took it in her stride and spring boarded into her best season.
“Starting the season with a DQ was not ideal but I got good karma out of that,” she continued.
“I played well in the Scottish Open and that led me into the win at British Amateur, so it’s been a good season so far and I’m very happy with the results.”
Louise has never played in front of more than 50 spectators, so the next fortnight will force her into the limelight for the first time. She admits a big crowd could be nerve wracking but she’s determined to retain her focus of enjoying her game.
“It’s going to be a big, big change,” she admits. “But I’m most looking forward to getting out there and comparing my game, seeing how I play against the other competitors, seeing how differently they do things and hopefully taking a few learnings from that.”
And being selected for GB&I team taking on USA in the Curtis Cup next week she is relishing the new and unfamiliar experience.
“I’ve never really played that much against the top, top amateur players but to find myself in that pool of players now is huge and I’m really looking forward it.”
A member of the University of Stirling golf programme for three years, Louise has benefitted from the expertise of Dean Robertson whilst continuing to work with her lifelong coach, Iain Darroch at West Kilbride.
“It was a big change coming here and one I definitely don’t regret,” she said. “Dean’s help has been massive for the development of my game and I have come on leaps and bounds.
“I actually started to enjoy the game a lot more, found myself happy to be under pressure plays because we’re in pressure plays all the time here.”
Find out more about the University of Stirling performance golf programme.