England Golf: Women’s Amateur Championship

FANTASTIC FINISH: English Amateur champion Kirsten Rudgeley

Kirsten’s putter gets red hot just in the nick of time

EG: Monday, August 2nd

FORMAT: 36-hole strokeplay/5 rounds of matchplay

Three successive birdies secured a dramatic victory in the English Women’s Amateur Championship final for Kirsten Rudgeley, who fought back from three down with six to play to beat Cheshire’s Bel Wardle.

In a match that ebbed and flowed, the Australian needed to win the last two holes to force extra time and did it in style before a four on the par five first gave her the title.

For her opponent it was tough to take. The Curtis Cup possible, who had battled her way into the final in superb style, had been four down after 14 holes but either side of lunch won six holes out of seven but just failed to hang on.

For Kirsten, who won the Scottish Open Championship last month (Helen Holm), it was a very special day. She was accompanied by her mum throughout the six-day event 

“It’s fantastic to have Mum with me as I go round, she’s a great support for me,” the Western Australia-based player told England Golf last night. “Dad rang me as soon as the match finished as well and I’m sure I’ll be getting messages from the family all night!

“It’s an awesome feeling to lift the trophy. The way I held myself together at the end there was good in a tough situation.”

The Mount Lawley GC golfer was two down after 27 holes and also lost the 29th with a bogey. Her opponent bogeyed the next and then Kirsten’s superb iron to the par three 17th gave a great chance of a two and she took it to keep herself alive.

At the last hole Bel put her second back left, just off the green, while her playing partner, who had gone for it with driver, smashed her short iron to just eight feet. The Cheshire champion putted up to 10 inches before watching her opponent drain another superb putt.

It was straight over for extra time and on the par five first, both players went with driver and found the fairway. Rudgeley’s second just missed the green on the right while her opponent was 25 yards short with her iron and chipped to 15 feet. The Aussie flopped on to seven feet and again drained a left to righter after watching Bel just miss to the right.

Runner-up Bel Wardle (Prestbury)

Kirsten added: “I felt like I hit a lot of good putts today and some of them just weren’t quite falling in but I had a good thought that they would fall in towards the end of the match and fortunately they paid off.

“Even when I was three down and Bel was playing well, I just tried to stay positive and keep believing that it was anyone’s game to win. I started striking the ball better on the back nine and that helped my game a lot.”

For the champion it was another superb play-off victory having reached the final at the 21st hole against top seed Annabell Fuller the previous day.

The Prestbury star had reached the final by doing it tough. Having qualified in 14th she met reigning champion Emily Price in the first round and won by two holes and then saw off Cornwall’s Danielle Hardwick, beat England international Jess Baker 6&5 and then in the semi-finals fought back from three down with seven to play against another England player Amelia Williamson to win by two holes.

With the Curtis Cup taking place at Conwy, starting on August 26, the GB&I squad will be announced shortly and the Cheshire player’s efforts can not have done her any harm.

Matchplay scores – Round One
• Annabell Fuller (Roehampton Club) beat Hyun-Ji Kim (Royal Wimbledon) 1 hole
• Lily Hurst (Woodsome Hall) beat Hannah Holden (Huddersfield) 3&2
• Katy Yates (Clacton-on-Sea) beat Bethany Norton (The Oaks) 1 hole
• Rosie Belsham (Whitley Bay) lost to Shannon O’Dwyer (The Wynyard Club) 1 hole
• Ellie Gower (Gleneagles) beat Patience Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow) 5&4
• Ellena Slater (Kings Hill) lost to Kirsten Rudgeley (Mount Lawley)
• Caley McGinty (Knowle) lost to Mia Eales-Smith (Lindrick) 1 hole
• Harriet Lynch (Thorndon Park) beat Lottie Woad (Farnham) 1 hole
• Hannah Screen (Berkhamsted) beat Ella Mason (Ely City) 1 hole
• Olivia Lee (Gerrards Cross) lost to Davina Xanh (Mendip Spring) 2&1
• Abigail Rowlands (Foxhills) beat Alexandra Phelps (Woking) 3&2
• Mimi Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow) lost to Amelia Williamson (Hunstanton) 2&1
• Charlotte Heath (Huddersfield) lost to Danielle Hardwick (Perranporth) 2&1
• Bel Wardle (Prestbury) beat Emily Price (Ludlow) 2 holes
• Jess Baker (Gosforth Park Ladies) beat Jessica Hall (Bishop Auckland) 4&3
• Katie Sibley (Carlisle) lost to Louise Burke (Broadstone) 5&4
Round Two
Fuller beat Hirst 4&2
Yates lost to O’Dwyer 3&2
Gower lost to Rudgeley 3&2
Eales-Smith beat Lynch 3&2
Screen lost to Xanh 3&2
Rowlands lost to Williamson 6&5
Hardwick lost to Wardle 3&1
Baker beat Burke 1 hole
Quarter-finals
Fuller beat O’Dwyer 4&3
Rudgeley beat Eales-Smith 3&2
Xanh lost to Williamson 2&1
Wardle beat Baker 6&5
Semi-finals
Fuller lost to Rudgeley 21st
Williamson lost to Wardle 2 holes
Final
Rudgeley beat Wardle 37th
For the strokeplay scores click here