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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kelsey MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar) and Gillian Scanlan (Hamilton) (above) in action in their semi-final at Alyth today. You can enlarge the images by clicking on them. Cal Carson Golf Agency images, all rights reserved.

It's the "Dream Final" at Alyth:

Carly Booth v Kelsey MacDonald

Title-holder and Curtis Cup player Carly Booth from Comrie, the No 2 seed, will play Scottish schoolgirls champion Kelsey MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar), the top qualifier, in the "dream final" of the Scottish Under-18 girls' championship at Alyth Golf Club, Perthshire tomorrow.
Sixteen-year-old Carly has a +3 rating, 17-year-old Kelsey plays off +2 and it has all the makings of a classic match between two talented teenagers.
After a day in which she played 42 holes to progress through the quarter and semi-finals, Kelsey admitted she was very tired but looking forward keenly, after a good night's rest, to playing her good friend and Scotland international team-mate.
MacDonald came back from two down to win at the 24th hole in the morning against Rebecca Wilson (Monifieth) and then lost the first three holes and was still three down after eight to Gillian Scanlan (Hamilton) in the afternoon.
Kelsey birdied the ninth and 10th to turn the tide in her favour but she did not lead until the 13th. Scanlan, who has almost certainly earned herself a first Scotland cap in the girls' home internationals at Panmure next month, was not finished yet. She squared the contest at the 16th but Kelsey raised her game one more time - a sign of her class - to birdie the short 17th and go on to win by one hole.
"I was about two or three under par in the morning and roughly level par in the semi-final," said Kelsey.
For her part, Carly was in the majestic form that won her the European Young Masters and other titles last summer. And when she is in that mood, the Perthshire prodigy is well nigh unbeatable at girls' level.
Booth was five under par in beating Rachael McQueen (Troon Ladies) by 7 and 5 in the morning quarter-finals and then two under par in recording a 7 and 6 semi-final win over Aberdeen's Mhairi Johnstone (Northern).
It will be Carly's third appearance in the final of this championship.
In 2005, at Tain, she lost by 2 and 1 to Sally Watson and last year, at Peterhead, Carly beat Megan Briggs by 2 and 1.
Friday's 18-hole final tees off at 9am. It should be well worth watching. A big gallery would draw the best out of both girls.
Thursday's results
Quarter-finals - K MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar) bt R Wilson (Monifieth) at 24th, G Scanlan (Hamilton) bt J Meldrum (Dullatur) at 19th, M Johnstone (Northern) bt L Atkins (Minto) 2 holes, C Booth (Comrie) bt R McQueen (Troon Ladies) 7 and 5.
Semi-finals - MacDonald bt Scanlan 1 hole, Booth bt Johnstone 7 and 6.