Moira was a local golfing legend who will never be forgotten

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TRIBUTE has been paid to a former gym teacher who triumphed in a legendary golf final to become the Ladies British Open Amateur Champion.

Moira Paterson was born in Lenzie in 1923 and lived a sand wedge from the clubhouse at Lenzie Golf Course.

A PE teacher in Kirkintilloch, Moira was just pipped in the final of the French Women’s Open Amateur Championship in 1949.

She was picked to go to America the following year with the Curtis Cup team. They lost, but Moira and the ladies got their revenge two years later when they famously beat the Americans at Muirfield – the first victory in the series by Great Britain and Ireland.

Moira’s greatest personal glory came in 1952 at Troon in the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship.

The legendary match was watched by a gallery of some 2,000 and lasted seven hours.

In the book ‘100 years of Lenzie Golf Club’, author Gordon Hislop reveals: “Before it started she had doubts about entering as she had injured her back. But she took a chance and gamely soldiered on, winning round after round and knocking out clubmate Janette Robertson on the way to the final.

“There she was up against the great English golfer Bunty Stephens and was behind all the way.

“To her eternal credit Moira fought back, gradually whittled away the deficit and squared the game at the 36th. The tension was nail-biting.

“The 37th was halved and Moira won with the last putt on the 38th. A great moment for Scotland! An unforgettable moment for Lenzie!”

Mr Hislop added: “The press described it as a golfing classic. Long were the celebrations that night in the Lenzie clubhouse.”

Moira – an honourary member of Lenzie Golf Club – married John Milton the following year and moved away.

Lenzie Golf Club stalwart Eckford Hutchinson recalls: “Moira was the Dunbartonshire Ladies Champion and was coached by Hector Thomson.

“Having been a member of Lenzie Golf Club since 1939 I had the good fortune to play against Moira and R.W. Jenkins on a Sunday afternoon for two years. My partner was Janette (Robertson) Wright – she won the Scottish Ladies Championship four times.”

During her golfing career Moira won many trophies and plaudits – representing her country against France, Belgium and Australia. She also toured South Africa.

Moira celebrated her 88th birthday in December and died last month in a Somerset nursing home.

Liz Pook, who won the British title in 1966 and 1967, said: “Moira was without doubt the most modest British champion I have ever known.”

Image courtesy of www.kirkwoodgolf.co.uk