August 15, 2021
O’TOOLE SEALS FIRST VICTORY AT 2021 TRUST GOLF WOMEN’S SCOTTISH OPEN ON 228TH ATTEMPT
Ryann O’Toole, in what is her 228th event and 11th season on Tour, won the first title of her career at the 2021 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links in Fife, Scotland.
A visibly emotional O’Toole, who played in the 2011 Solheim Cup back in her rookie year, said at her Champion’s press conference, “Words cannot describe what I am feeling right now. It didn’t seem real. It seems very surreal, and definitely a dream come true. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to win but it’s finally here.”
At the start of the final day, few would have predicted that O’Toole would be the one holding the trophy at the prize giving ceremony, given she was perhaps the least decorated of the players on the star-studded leaderboard which included three Major Champions, six LPGA winners and seven LET champions.
And yet, it was the Californian who serenely edged three shots clear of the field with a blemish-free -8 under par taking her to -17 without a moment where she looked anything other than a seasoned winner.
O’Toole’ love of links golf has come through during the week although she explained this wasn’t always the case, “I think regardless, winning over here, I guess take it back to my first year, second year on Tour and playing my first British Open and learning what true links was. I felt like I got my butt kicked at Royal Liverpool. It blew. One of the rounds got called for the day. I had never played in anything like that, and I remember hitting tee shots that just flung across, like those aren’t going to work here. And after that I was like, wow, there’s so much to learn and change and grasp on this style of golf and after that, I fell in love with it, how to hit a really low tee shot, how to play the contours of the green and the course and I just feel like I love this style of golf and to have this be my first win, it seems fitting.”
Tied second was Major winner and two-time Olympic medal winner Lydia Ko, whose heroic -9 par final round proved not quite enough to take her second title of the year. Alongside Ko in second place, finishing with a 66, was the impressive Thai teenager, Atthaya Thitikul, the current leader on the LET’s 2021 Race to the Costa del Sol.
Thitikul, who spent much of the week saying she didn’t like links golf seemed to soften when asked if she was beginning to become a little more fond, “Yeah, of course, just a little bit more, not that much for sure, because you know, like links is tough for sure. Links is tough!”
Past Champion and double Major winner Ariya Jutanugarn finished fourth while England’s Charley Hull’s solid final round of -3 saw her finish fifth ahead into the final Major of the year at Carnoustie next week.
Hull commented, “I think overall, having a good finish here, that gives me good momentum heading into next week. This was a great golf course leading up to Carnoustie. This is a true links and we know what Carnoustie is like. I’m super excited for next week and learn from this week and take the positives and work on the things that I feel like needs to be worked on and have fun out there and see what happens.”
Kelsey MacDonald finished on -7, T15 and was the leading Scottish player, winning the Jock MacVicar Leading Scot Trophy, created to honour legendary golf journalist Jock MacVicar, an ardent supporter of the event, who passed away earlier this year aged 83.
11-YEAR VET RYANN O’TOOLE WINS TRUST GOLF WOMEN’S SCOTTISH OPEN
In her 228th start on the LPGA Tour, Ryann O’Toole can finally call herself an LPGA Tour champion.
The 11-year veteran took complete control of Dumbarnie Links and notched her first-career victory at 17-under par after a fourth-round bogey-free 64 at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open. O’Toole becomes the sixth-different American to win in 2021 and the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the season.
Starting off with three birdies in her first four holes, O’Toole worked magic around the greens on Sunday, recording five more by day’s end. For O’Toole, it felt like fate.
“Words cannot describe what I am feeling right now. I still can’t even — it didn’t seem real. It seems very surreal, and definitely a dream come true. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to win but it’s finally here,” said O’Toole. “I felt staying patient was key. Even the last few events, I’ve been putting myself up there and couldn’t get that final fourth round going. I just think patience. It was never a playing issue or anything like that. It’s just getting things to fall or things kind of go your way.”
After co-leading after the third round for the first time in her career, O’Toole said she received advice from friend and fellow Tour player Cheyenne Knight, who urged her to stay “in the process and in the moment.” Part of that gameplan included ignoring leaderboards.
“I tried to not look at the leaderboard. I tried to just trust in my caddie to guide me to whether we needed to lay or get aggressive, stay patient or whatnot,” said O’Toole. “It wasn’t until 18 that I saw that Lydia was not far off and I could tell when I made the birdie on 17 that there must have been some sort of gap because people were cheering, and I was like, okay, clearly I can’t mess this up too badly now.”
Atthaya Thitikul, in the penultimate grouping, tried her best to keep up with O’Toole’s momentum. The three-time LET winner put up a rising effort, with five birdies on the front-nine on Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. But the 18-year-old struggled at the turn, posting bogeys on Nos. 10 and 14 along with just three more birdies to end in a tie for second at -14, along with Lydia Ko after her final-round 63.
“Today like I know that like in the front nine, played really well, really good and then at the moment, I just go out and then just told myself, I do my best,” said Thitikul. “Not a bad back nine for sure. I know that I try my best and then, yeah, it’s not my day yet. Maybe it will come soon.”
54-hole co-leaders Ariya Jutanugarn and Charley Hull finished in solo fourth and fifth, respectively. Jutanugarn closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at -13, while Hull posted her fourth-consecutive 69 and ended at -12. Ally Ewing posted a Sunday 63 along with Ko for the low rounds of the week, and rose from T25 at the start of the day to a solo-sixth result (-11). Five players rounded out the top-10 in a tie for seventh at -9, including major champion Jeongeun Lee6. Defending champion Stacy Lewis finished the Women’s Scottish Open in a tie for 67th.
O’TOOLE’S JOURNEY TO THE FINISH LINE SEES FRUITFUL END AT WOMEN’S SCOTTISH OPEN
Ryann O’Toole turned professional after graduating from UCLA in 2009, with LPGA Tour dreams in mind. She won three times on the Symetra Tour and officially earned her card in 2011. A career highlighted by her selection onto the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team, O’Toole had been knocking at the door for years. Now over a decade later, she’ll leave the Home of Golf a champion, in dominating fashion, after a week at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open.
“I’ve been obviously working my whole life for this and dreaming about it since I was a kid. I feel like ten years now, wondering, when is it going to happen and I just feel like this year’s been very much kind of aligning and things are falling together and I just was trying to stay patient,” said O’Toole.
The 34-year-old’s final-round 63 ties her career-low 18-hole score, last recorded at the 2018 Amundi Evian Championship, where she ultimately finished in a tie for sixth. It’s the type of score that O’Toole believed she’s always had inside her, though she remembered one of her first experiences on the links at Royal Liverpool, and the “butt kicking” she received.
“I guess take it back to my first year, second year on Tour and playing my first British Open and learning what true links was. I felt like I got my butt kicked,” said O’Toole. “After that I was like, wow, there’s so much to learn and change and grasp on this style of golf and after that, I fell in love with it, how to hit a really low tee shot, how to play the contours of the green and the course and I just feel like I love this style of golf and to have this be my first win, it seems fitting.”
O’Toole, who is set to get married this December, said she’s been thinking of her life beyond golf over the past year, with the goal of having kids, and how that works with her Tour aspirations. “I thought maybe this year would be my last year or I don’t even know, I haven’t even really announced that. I’ve been kind of playing it by ear. I think just kind of letting go of this, I’ve got to make something happen, I’ve got to do this; it’s just accepting there’s more to life. There’s a future of other things, and I think that just kind of eased up out here rather than the pressure of just making the pressure — I’m Ryann in a lot of different ways rather than just Ryann the golfer,” said O’Toole. “I feel like it’s been a long time coming as far as all the work and effort I’ve been putting towards getting to where I am today.
“It’s always a combination of where your swing is at, where your head is at, your team with your caddie, I think that makes a huge difference. It’s a partnership out there, and how you guys communicate and all that. It’s funny, this is the first week we worked together and I win. So, who knows? I’m excited to see what happens next week.”
63s ABOUND ON FINAL DAY AT DUMBARNIE LINKS
As the clouds broke over Dumbarnie Links during the final round of the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, the scoring average for the field dipped into the 60s for the first time all week (69.578). Two players took advantage of the favorable conditions, posting Dumbarnie’s new course record, 63: major champion Lydia Ko and LPGA Tour winner Ally Ewing.
“I was talking to my grandmother last night. Had some family stuff going on earlier in the week so touched base a lot and I was speaking with my grandmother and she said, well, how did you do, where are the leaders and I said I was at 2-under and the leaders were at nine and she said, well, just go shoot that tomorrow. I said, oh, Granny, that’s quite the type of golf we are playing over here,” said Ewing. “I didn’t think of it until I just signed my scorecard. That was a lot of fun and just great to capitalize on it.”
Ko said she was happy to end the week riding a wave of confidence before she turns her attention to the major championship at the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie. “I actually haven’t played well at the Scottish Open before, so it’s definitely nice to finish on a high. The wind was a lot calmer today, made it a little bit more gettable. I think I played really aggressive – well, I tried to stay pretty aggressive and that’s kind of been the mindset feeding off of last week,” said Ko, who came into Fife after earning the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo. “So just kind of kept it to that. Definitely nice to cap this week on a high and good momentum going into next week.”
AIG WOMEN’S OPEN QUALIFYING UPDATE
There are five spots available this week at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open for the 2021 AIG Women’s Open, to be held Aug. 19-22 at Carnoustie. The five spots will be determined by the players with the five lowest scores after 72 holes at this week’s Women’s Scottish Open player. Any unused spots will be allocated to Final Qualifying on the Monday of the AIG Women’s Open.
The five qualifiers are:
- Kelsey MacDonald
- Whitney Hillier
- Karolin Lampert
- Haeji Kang
- Prima Thammaraks