Johnson wins Scottish Open

England’s Trish Johnson proved that age is no barrier to success as she won the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open on a glorious final day at Archerfield Links in East Lothian, becoming the Ladies European Tour’s oldest winner at the age of 48.

With rounds of 66, 70 and 73, she ended on a 54-hole total of 209, seven-under-par, two strokes clear of Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera. Australians Rebecca Artis and Stephanie Na were a stroke back in a share of third place with Scotland’s Sally Watson on four-under-par. With a final round 70 he 2013 champion, Catriona Matthew moved up from equal 30th into a tie for 13th place.

Johnson began the final round six strokes clear of the field and birdied the second and third holes to reach 10-under, but found trouble on the seventh when she drove the ball left into a gorse bush and had to return to the tee resulting in a double bogey.

Three strokes ahead of Watson at the turn, she made four steady pars before missing a four-footer and dropping a shot on the par-4 14th. After Watson faltered down the stretch, Johnson was three ahead of Nocera with two to play but the 2008 Scottish Open champion birdied the last to move into solo second place.

“With a six shot lead today, I think if I’d thrown that away in perfect conditions, well… it was a difficult one, I played pretty well but I never got the putter going at all,” Johnson said. “I just didn’t putt as well as the first two days but I didn’t have the same mentality. I suppose that was because I was defending a little bit, which I didn’t think I’d do.”

Johnson nearly pulled out of the tournament with a back injury earlier in the week as she could hardly walk, but in her winner’s speech, she thanked the LET osteopath and masseuse, Chris Wilkes and Amanda Bailey, for helping her to recover in time to play and keeping her going. She also thanked Neil Carter, her caddie for the week.

“I wasn’t expecting this. I had very low expectations and I guess that worked for me. I didn’t have a practise round and I didn’t play until Friday morning and probably played one of the best rounds of my life on Friday. I’m chuffed to bits,” she said.

In the Pro-Am tournament running simultaneously, Johnson partnered ex-footballer and former BBC Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen, a 5-handicap golfer, who was full of praise for her performance.

“She played so well for the three days and was just rock solid, putted great. It was never in doubt and watching her play was a delight. This is the fourth time I’ve played with her and she hits it so well,” he said. “She’s been unlucky a couple of times but this was her tournament right from the word go. She shot 66 in poor conditions and yesterday again, massively in control of what she was doing. Today she got the job done and it was a delight to see. She is a big Arsenal supporter and I’m a big Liverpool supporter and Liverpool always beat Arsenal so that’s why I like playing with her.”

This was Johnson’s 22nd international tournament victory in her 28th year on tour, and her 19th win on the LET, but incredibly, it was her first LET win in Scotland and she credited the green staff for their superb work on the magnificent Fidra Course.

Four years after her last LET victory at the 2010 French Open, Johnson now feels that she is playing the best golf of her life and shows no signs of stopping, with the Helsingborg Open in Sweden next week.

In the Pro-Am tournament, Holly Clyburn and amateur Richard Bevan, a 6 handicapper, won with a team better-ball score of 24-under-par, while Anne-Lise Caudal and Jonathon Shinton were second on 21-under and Nikki Campbell and Gavin Corbett finished third.