In-form Chloe Goadby led the qualifiers into the matchplay stages of the Scottish Women’s Championship at Elie but with a host of potential title challengers at her shoulder.
The St Regulus member shot a superbly controlled and bogey-free round of three-under 70 on the second day of qualifying at the Golf House Club, birdieing three of the four par fives, enough to complete a nine-under total of 137.
That was a shot better than fast-finishing Connie Jaffrey, who had five birdies in her first ten holes as she made a bid for the No 1 seeding. The Troon Ladies member, defending the title she won at Royal Aberdeen a year ago, settled for a five-under 68 and second place on final round countback over her younger clubmate Hazel MacGarvie.
A couple of bogeys on the back nine knocked the 19-year-old Stirling University student and Scottish Universities champion out of the lead and she eventually completed a two-under 71 and the third seeding.
Hannah McCook, the star of the women’s season so far with back-to-back victories in the Welsh and Irish Women’s opens, had to settle for a fifth seeding after a rollercoaster of a second round that mixed five birdies with four bogeys.
That allowed 14-year-old Hannah Darling, the Scottish Girls’ champion, to move into fourth on a better second round with her second 70 of qualifying, even after she had bogeyed the last.
The Broomieknowe prospect, inaugural winner of the R&A’s national girls’ Under-16 title earlier this year, had nine birdies and an eagle in an impressive 36 holes, finishing on a six-under total of 140.
Jaffrey’s 68 was the best round of the second day of qualifying but there were four sub-70 rounds as well, Carnoustie’s Ailsa Summers among them with a 69. The 2016 champion finished tied seventh with Aboyne’s Kimberley Beveridge while the 2014 champion Gabrielle MacDonald also had a 69 to claim the ninth seeding.
The 2015 winner Clara Young (North Berwick), beaten finalist to Jaffrey at Royal Aberdeen last year, also moved into the matchplay stages in a tie for 17th.
There was disappointment for some local hopes with Crail’s 14-year-old Anna McKay, who went all the way to the quarter-finals last year, missing out on the 32 qualifiers by just a shot, although another of the #Project19 group of Under-14s who went to the Solheim Cup last year, Elmwood’s Evanna Hynd, made the cut on the mark.