Oregon-based golfer, Lara Tennant, adds Scottish crown to US and British titles after play-off triumph

America’s Lara Tennant today edged out Scotland’s Valerie Thomas on the second extra play-off hole to win the 2024 Scottish Senior Women’s Open Championship.

In tough and testing conditions over three days of action at Old Course Ranfurly, Renfrewshire, both players finished tied on a 54-hole aggregate score of 226 (+10).

Tennant posted rounds of 76, 77 and 73 while Thomas matched that tally with rounds of 75, 78 and 73.

In the play-off, both players made par threes on the first extra hole (18th) before Tennant held her nerve to make a par four on the 17th.

When Thomas failed to get up and down from the front edge, the 57-year-old from Oregon was able to celebrate the win with husband and caddie Bob by her side.

Two-time champion Moffat finishes in fourth

England’s Lisa Barton was third on +12 while two-time champion Elaine Moffat from the St Regulus Ladies Club finished in fourth.

There was also success for Old Course Ranfurly’s Fiona MacPhee, one of nine women playing on their home course, as she claimed the trophy for best nett score.

Tennant admitted she was thrilled and honoured to add the Scottish crown to the three US and one British Senior Women’s amateur titles she has claimed in a glorious run since 2018.

Speaking after the win, Tennant said: “It’s right up there with previous wins. It’s special any time you win a national title and I really enjoyed this one.

“Scottish Golf put on a great tournament and it’s an honour to be the champion.

“My fellow competitors, the members at Old Course Ranfurly and everyone at Scottish Golf were so welcoming.

“I really enjoyed myself this week.

“During the play-off I tried not to think about the fact that I’d let it slip towards the end of my round.

“I just focused on pars – in a play-off anyone can win and Valerie is such a good golfer I knew I’d have to have a bit of luck.”

Back to being a straight stroke play event

Before Tennant took charge on the final day, there were a number of twists and turns in the event which this year reverted from a stroke play/match play combination to a straight stroke play event.

The round one lead was held by another American, Jayne Pardus.

A level par score on day one didn’t fully do the Amercian’s play justice – a lost ball on the final hole led to a double bogey and undid much of the good work from earlier in the round which had included four birdies.

However, Pardus took a one-shot lead into round two. Barton was in second spot with Sophie Beardsall a further stroke back.

The second day was dominated by some strong play from the home players in sometimes brutal conditions.

A howling wind and bursts of rain tested the mettle of the competitors but brought out the fighting spirit in West Lothian’s Margo Gardner.

After an opening round of 75 (+3) the second round score of 76 might not have been as good on paper, but it represented excellent play on grass.

Into the final 18 holes

Going into the final 18 holes, only six shots separated 36-hole leader Gardner from Crail’s Aileen Baker in tenth spot.

However, it was Tennant who took the championship by the scruff of the neck with birdies at the second, sixth and ninth. By reaching the turn in three under par, Tennant held a two-shot cushion over Moffat who had clung on thanks, in part, to a chip-in birdie on the eighth.

As Moffat faltered, three bogeys in Tennant’s final five holes opened the door for Thomas who had posted the clubhouse lead at +10.

However, Tennant was able to regroup and get over the line in the sudden death shootout helped by her husband on the bag.

She added: “My husband always helps me because there was a lot of math going on this week with the elevation and the winds – we’re not accustomed to this in Oregon or California!

“We have five children and he’s always helped me and cheered me on and there’s a lot of kudos to him.”

View the full leaderboard here. Next year’s championship will be held at Eyemouth Golf Club from 25-27 June.