18th green heroics from comeback master Emmanuelle
HERTS: Tuesday June 8th
A second, brilliant back-nine fightback in as many days earned Mid Herts’s Emmanuelle Hewson a stunning victory in the Hertfordshire Women’s Championship.
Playing her opening event of the year in the UK after returning from her first year at Northern Kentucky University, Emmanuelle holed a 25-foot downhill putt on the last at Knebworth to beat Mawgan Vater (East Herts) by one hole and claim the trophy for the first time.
After 12 holes the new champion had been three down but showed the battling qualities which were so evident in her first round victory over home club player Darcie West. A day earlier she had been four down thru 10 and fought back to see it out at the 18th.
For Emmanuelle, who will turn 19 on Thursday, that title-winning putt was one she got a great read on despite the significant left-to-right break.
“It’s a three-tiered green but I could just see the putt,” said the French-born teenager who moved to England when she was 12. “There was two feet of break; I don’t remember much about it but my dad (he was caddying all three days) says I said ‘just get in the hole’ and it went straight in the middle.”
The two finalists, who are both coached by Barney Puttick at Mid Herts, birdied the opening hole before Emmanuelle went out of bounds at the next and found herself three down with six to play.
A birdie at 13 cut the gap to two and pars at 14 and 17 were enough to draw level before the drama of 18. Both players missed the target in two and also left chips short. Mawgan went first with a putt up the green and left herself with a six footer for par but it did not matter as her opponent drained the big left to righter.
In her semi-final against Zianab Jeppe (Mill Green) a few hours earlier, the flow of the match was very different. This time the Mid Herts player was four up after 10 but lost the next three. A superb two on the long par three 14th settled the nerves though and she closed things out on the 17th.
Emmanuelle’s quarter-final clash with Honor Kielty (West Herts) turned into a par fest – she won by 2 holes – which again was in contrast to what had transpired earlier that morning. In the last 16 tie with Darcie, who performed heroically to qualify fourth off an eight handicap, she birdied four holes on the back nine to go ahead by the 17th and then parred the last to reach the last eight.
A day earlier 25 entrants battled for 16 places and for the soon-to-be-champion there was some rustiness as she racked up six double bogeys in qualifying in 13th (83, 81). Kelly Cooke (Welywn Garden City) topped the leaderboard on four over thanks to rounds of 77 and 73.
“Take out the double bogeys and the rest of it was really good,” said Emmanuelle. “And I got progressively better throughout the week.”