Golf: McWilliam’s South Africa performances boost her Curtis Cup hopes

Shannon McWilliam.

Shannon McWilliam has given her hopes of playing in this year’s Curtis Cup a massive boost after two impressive performances in South Africa.

The Aboyne amateur stormed to a six-shot victory in the Border Ladies Strokeplay Championship in South Africa.

Plus-three handicapper Shannon carded 13 birdies in rounds of 72, 69, 75 for a three-round winning aggregate of level-par 216 at the East London Golf Club.

Determined to build on her success, the 18-year-old finished second competing in her first professional event at the South African Women’s Masters event at San Lameer Country Club on Saturday.

Shannon claimed the Sally Little Trophy as leading amateur after a closing round of 73 gave her a 216 three-round aggregate when finishing just one shot behind German rookie pro Laura Fuenfstueck.

Shannon, who was selected in December for the initial Great Britain and Ireland squad to play the United States at Quaker Ridge in June, said: “I was delighted with the way I played at East London and what was more pleasing was winning by six shots over Hannah McCook (Grantown-on-Spey).

“The East London course was very hilly but in very good condition.

“I ended up having a caddy, because on the first day we played 36 holes in atrocious weather conditions due to very heavy rain and a strong wind.

“I shot a one-under 72 followed by a four-under 69, which I was really pleased with.

“My approach shots were going close, so I was able to make quite a few birdies.

“However, it was the complete opposite during the final 18 holes the following day with the temperature at 32 degrees and no wind as I returned a two-over 75.

“At San Lameer, I played very well, struggled with my long game, but my putting and short game saved me.

“The course was very nice, there is a lot of water, which meant your course management had to be spot on.

“The weather was lovely all three days, very windy but sunny. I’m delighted with my performance to finish tied for second and just one shot behind the leader.

“I feel it was a fantastic achievement in my first professional tour event.

“Winning the Sally Little Trophy for best amateur was the icing on the cake.

“I’ve still a lot of work to do to secure my full place in the Curtis Cup, but I’m hoping these efforts have helped my chances.”

Shannon, who also finished seventh in the Portuguese International Ladies Championship earlier this year, will have no time to rest on her laurels as she will compete in another professional tour event this week – the Supersports Ladies Challenge, Wildcoast, from tomorrow until March 2.

The 40th Curtis Cup match will be played from Friday to Sunday, June 8-10. The final eight-player GB&I team will be announced on April 26.