ClubGolfer Anna McKay has become one of the youngest ever winners of a Ladies Championship after a stunning victory at Crail Golfing Society’s Ladies Championship on Sunday.
At 11 years and nine months old, Anna – who impressed Ryder Cup player and Major champion Graeme McDowell in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pro-Am earlier this summer – has entered the history books at the Fife links following their Finals Day.
The 10 handicapper, who won the Ladies matchplay final 3&2, follows in the footsteps of two-time Ladies European Tour winner Carly Booth, who became the youngest ladies' club champion in Britain at the age of 11 at Dunblane New.
Anna’s success is all the more remarkable given she has only been back playing for two months after suffering from Osgood-Schlatter disease in the past year, a growing pains-related condition.
Anna started her journey with ClubGolf, the national junior programme, at the age of four, tagging alongside her older brother, Ben, at Elie and her continued success is testament to Crail’s dedication to junior development via ClubGolf, open access to adult competitions and Scottish Golf coaching. She has been coached for a number of years by Scottish Golf Regional Performance Coach Ian Muir and has been nominated for the Scottish Golf Academy for next year.
Before her weekend win, Anna had already made a name for herself with a long list of golfing achievements. In 2012, she was runner-up in her age group in the US Kids World Championships in Pinehurst, North Carolina, the world’s largest event for under-13s. She has also won the Elie Girls Open Under-12 title for the past four years and was the Fife County Girls Junior Scratch champion in 2014.
Her parents, Colin and Lisa, have also been hugely supportive, with Colin the Assistant Course Manager at Crail and a past club Champion. Colin also provides a valued role in the current junior section and played his part in helping the McKay team – himself, Anna and Ben – win the Scottish Hydro Scramble event at Pitlochry last year.
Ben, 14, plays off a five handicap and is member of the Scottish Golf Academy. He shared the success of Finals Day on Sunday with Anna, winning the Junior Match Play Championship after amassing multiple trophy wins this year, including a Men’s singles match play event.
Commenting on her win, Anna said: “I had to play my best golf to get to the final. The games were all really hard. I’m really pleased to have won and it was great that Ben won on the same day.”
Club Matchplay Champion, and lifelong Crail member, Murray Herd remarked on the McKay siblings success in his winner’s speech, stating that the 2015 Finals Day “will go down in history for Crail Golfing Society. We, as club members are all very proud of Anna and Ben and look forward to seeing them develop.”
Last month, McKay savoured the chance of a lifetime when she was one of three youngsters invited by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to play in the Scottish Government team in the Pro-Am which preceded the European Tour event at Gullane.
The First Minister asked ClubGolf to choose the players, who were invited to a star-studded reception at Edinburgh Castle the evening before the event where she revealed they would be playing with US Open winner and Ryder Cup star McDowell.
On completing the round, McDowell said: “We had a really fun day at the Pro-Am at the Scottish Open. It is great to see the legacy from the Ryder Cup and great for the development of golf in Scotland and I wish them all the best.”