Scotland’s Hannah Darling holed a closing 40-foot birdie putt to seal a dramatic victory in the inaugural Girls Under 16 Open Championship at Fulford.
Ireland’s Beth Coulter had looked set for a wire-to-wire victory in York, leading by a stroke with the par-5 18th to play, only to go out of bounds after her second shot hit a tree leading to a triple bogey.
Darling had applied the pressure after a closing two-under-par round of 72, only one of two players to post under par on a breezy final day, had given her the clubhouse lead on a total of four-under-par. In challenging conditions, the 14-year-old fired four birdies in the last ten holes to make a surge up the leaderboard.
The Broomieknowe player looked on as Coulter’s hopes ended in disappointment after signing off for final round of 78 to finish two strokes back on two-under-par and land Darling another championship win to add to the three domestic titles she claimed in 2017.
“I’m so happy,” said Darling. “All my Scottish squad is here, so to do it with them here, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve had good performances in the last few weeks but to come here and win is so good.
“I felt for Beth at the last when she went out of bounds. It’s not nice to see a competitor do that, especially one you are quite close to on the leaderboard.
“The competition has been amazing. The R&A have done an amazing job as have the Fulford Golf Club and the green staff to keep the course in such good condition. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and lowering my one handicap.”
Grace Crawford (Gullane) finished second in the Under-12s section with scores of 80, 77 and 79 for a total of 236 - one shot behind the category winner, Rosie Bee Kim (Buckinghamshire) who had scores of 81, 73 and 81 for 235.
R and A UNDER-16 GIRLS OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Fulford Golf Club, Yorkshire
LEADING FINAL TOTALS
Par 222 (3x74) SSS 74 CSS 73 73 74
218 H Darling (Broomieknowe) 74 72 72
220 B Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) 69 73 78.
222 E Moosman (Switzerland) 76 69 77
223 F Tynan (Minchinhampton) 71 76 76, K Hiltunen (Finland) 74 70 79
224 R Gyliner (Swe) 76 75 73, E Gower (Chateau des Vigiers) 74 75 75, C Cattaneo (Ita) 75 72 77
228 C Griffiths (Aboyne) 78 76 74 (T14)
236 G Crawford (Gullane) 80 77 79 (T25)
237 R Foster (Prestwick St Nicholas) 77 85 75, E Henderson (Loretto) 80 75 82 (T29)
240 E Hynd (Elmwood) 76 86 78 (T37)
245 A McKay (Crail) 83 82 80 (T51)
247 P Wilson (Burntisland) 84 85 78 (T57)