THE Royal Dornoch Ladies Open turned into a real family affair.
The club’s popular assistant manager Claire Riddell captured the title and Milburn Challenge trophy, along with the Silver Medal for best scratch score posted by a club player – while daughter Hannah took the handicap honours on a day when the wind off the Dornoch Firth refused to relent!
Claire’s name had already been engraved five times previously on the Silver Medal for the best local scratch round, having won five times in a row under her maiden name Wilson and Riddell post-marriage between 1991 and ’95.
Not to be outdone, Hannah (20) won the overall handicap trophy and retained the Lovell Salver for the best Royal Dornoch net score 72, returning a gross 83 playing off 11 on the Championship Course.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was told my last win was 27 years ago,” laughed Claire, who was busy welcoming visitors to the clubhouse before her lunchtime tee-time.
“My game has been lacking consistency I suppose but obviously I was absolutely delighted with the win.
“It was a top-quality field and there wasn’t much between the leading players in very testing conditions.
“There was nothing too spectacular but I did my best to keep out of trouble.
“It was tough going for everyone but I was playing with Jenny Milne and we have known each other since our junior golfing days. It was very relaxing playing in such good company.”
Claire posted a four over par 80, having started with a birdie after driving the first green, before the notorious par 3 second left her nursing a double bogey.
She was one over at the turn and carded six pars and three bogeys on the inward nine as the going got tougher.
Claire’s husband Eoin is the long-time course manager.
But that certainly had no bearing on the family success story.
“Anyone who knows Eoin would tell you he wouldn’t give us the inside track – and these days I just concentrate on finding the green, never mind pin positions!” laughed Claire, who will be toasting her milestone 50th birthday later in the year.
Hannah and Claire Riddell are presented with their Royal Dornoch Ladies Open trophies by ladies captain Alison Bartlett (centre).