Louise Duncan was understandably elated after overcoming her nerves to shoot a fantastic 68 on day one of the AIG Women’s Open.
The Women’s Amateur Champion had acknowledged in the build-up to her major debut that she was feeling the pressure of competing on the biggest stage.
Yet Duncan looked totally at home on the famous Carnoustie links as she went round in four under to trail leaders Nelly Korda, Madelene Sagstrom and Sei Young Kim by just a single stroke.
“I played great,” said a smiling Duncan after her magnificent performance.
“I was happy to get it off the first and find the fairway … but I played steady all the way round, putted well and hit the ball really nice.
"It’s a bit surreal really, to be playing with the best players in the world and some really big names. It’s all a bit mad.
“I don’t really know how I managed to keep (my nerves) under control. I just tried to find the clubface really.”
The highlight of Duncan’s day came at the par-5 14th, where she followed back-to-back birdies by holing a 30-foot eagle putt to spark roars of delight from spectators.
“That was a great feeling. I wouldn’t have ever pictured that, to be fair, but it was brilliant, and to hear all the crowd, it’s a different experience to anything I’ve ever had,” added the 21-year-old Scot.
Her opening-day score matched the performance of illustrious playing partner and 2018 AIG Women’s Open Champion Georgia Hall, who provided a helping hand on Duncan’s big day.
“Playing with Georgia, she really settled me in there,” added Duncan. “She was lovely and chatted to me quite a bit. It definitely helped with the nerves.
“I think it was about the eighth hole when I started to calm down a wee bit, but it was great to play with Georgia. She was really lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”