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Connor claims first national title

Connor claims first national titleMcKinney emulates fellow Scot Neil by winning Loretto Scottish Boys Under-14s crown

Pitreavie’S Connor McKinney emerged victorious from a
four-way play-off at the Loretto Scottish Boys Under-14s Open Championship at Glenbervie.

The Fifer, playing out of the Dunfermline club, muscled his way into contention after posting a four-over-par 36-hole total at the Stirlingshire venue, the same mark as two Frenchmen, Andrea Milazzo and Lancelot Salisbury, and England’s Gregor McKenzie.
But it was McKinney who claimed a home victory over the international field after his birdie at the first extra hole, the 15th, thanks to executing a superb chip shot at the par-5.

McKinney, 13, secured his first national title with the success and emulates fellow Scot Bradley Neil, who won back-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Past winners at Glenbervie also include Ryder Cup players Jose Maria Olazabal and David Howell, meaning McKinney has joined some rather illustrious company.

DELIGHTED

“It was my first time playing in the event and I just came to enjoy it and hopefully do my best,” said Connor. “I’m so happy to win the trophy and was delighted to birdie the first play-off hole. I’m feeling really good about this result.”

First contested in 2001, the event - and supported for the vast majority of that time by Loretto School Golf Academy -
is the youngest national age group championship in Scotland and attracts young golfers from across the UK and beyond.

Meantime, Italian Maria Vittoria Corbi found the Scottish ‘summer’ weather to her liking after securing a one-stroke success in the girls’ event.

The 14-year-old, who plays out of the Parco di Roma club, posted a seven-over-par winning total after rounds of 76 and 75. Corbi won from two players - the overnight leader from France, Lois Lau, and Spain’s Marta Lopez Echevarria.

NOTABLE

Having won the International Under-16s in her homeland this year, it was another notable success on her first competitive appearance in Scotland.

“It’s great to win on a really nice course,” said Corbi. “I’ve been to St Andrews before but this was my first time playing an event in Scotland. It was a great experience.

“It was a little bit windy but the weather was nice. In Italy just now, it is so hot it is impossible to play golf. I want to be a professional when I’m older and I’m friends with Renato Paratore, who turned pro last year and has done well on the European Tour.”
Lopez Echevarria won the Gibson Trophy for the leading Under-12 player with her eight over total. Another Spaniard, Cristina Albertazzi, was the youngest player in the field,
aged nine.

There was also delight for the French player, Balthazar Duclos, after he aced the 13th hole during the second round, receiving a quaich for his effort.

Photo: © Kenny Smith

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