Superb victory for low-scoring Emma Carberry
Teenager Emma Carberry put the sparkle on the weather-hit English women’s open mid-amateur championship at Wetherby with a superb winning score of seven-under par for 36 holes.
The 19-year-old (Image © Leaderboard Photography) was two-under par this morning, five-under this afternoon - and three strokes clear of her closest challenger, Kirsty Rands of Surrey. Charlotte Thompson of Essex and Singapore-based Charlotte Thomas also beat par to take third and fourth places respectively.
Emma, from Highwoods in Sussex, promptly dedicated her first major win to her late grandfather, Eric Derry, saying: “I lost my Grandad in April and this is for him. He used to say to me: ‘Isn’t it time you won a tournament?’”
He would have been delighted by the strength of the field she beat, which included two members of GB&I’s winning Curtis Cup team, English champion Kelly Tidy and Welsh champion Amy Boulden, and international Hayley Davis, who has won both the English women’s and girls’ titles.
The championship was disrupted by bad weather since it started on Thursday. Play was suspended for a total of 3½ hours on the first day, washed out completely yesterday – and although the sun shone for most of today there was another suspension of 30 minutes when a thunderstorm swept over the course.
The repeated delays forced a change of format from matchplay to today’s 36-hole stroke play event. To everyone’s relief, the day dawned dry if misty and, as the sun came out, the players responded with a fine display of scoring.
Emma and Charlotte Thomas set the first round pace at two-under, closely followed by Charlotte Thompson and Kirsty Rands.
Emma’s aim in the afternoon was to play around par, but instead she notched up six birdies and just one bogey, on the fourth. She was two-under at the turn and parred steadily through the next four holes, before hitting her second shot into the 14th – just before play was suspended.
“When we came back after the rain delay I holed the putt. That got me going again and I holed more good putts for birdies on 16 and 17. I was shaking on the 18th and trying to keep my nerves together – and I hit my best drive of the day! I’m just over the moon.”
Emma has just completed her first year at Baylor University in the USA and credits the experience with improving her golf. “It’s been a tough year and I’ve learned a lot about my game. I’ve worked really hard and I’m a much better player,” she said.
Runner-up Kirsty Rands - who has spent four years at college in the USA – has just enjoyed a break from serious golf and arrived at this event with few expectations, only to find herself right in the mix.
She was one-under this morning and, thanks to four birdies, was five-under after 27 holes. But after the rain delay, further birdies proved elusive, while she dropped her only shot of the round on the 12th. “I tried to be patient and I putted really well but, after the delay, they just wouldn’t drop.”
Charlotte Thompson, who took third place, was in the first group out and set the early clubhouse lead when she came in at three-under par for the day. The big hitter, who took advantage of her length, has been in fine form of late. She recently helped Essex reach County Finals, winning all nine of her matches at county match week.
Leading final scores
Par 146 (2x73) SS 75 CSS 75 75
139 Emma Carberry (Highwoods, Bexhill) 71 68
142 Kirsty Rands (Burhill) 72 70
143 Charlotte Thompson (Channels) 72 71
145 Charlotte Thomas (Sentosa) 71 74
146 Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale) 74 72, Hayley Davis (Ferndown) 74 72, Alex Peters (Notts Ladies’) 74 72
149 Jo Hodge (The Kendleshire) 77 72
150 Rosie Davies (Coombe Hill) 75 75, Kerry Smith (Waterlooville) 73 77
151 Nicole Whitmore (Woburn) 75 76, Megan Briggs (SCO) 75 76, Emily Perry (NZL) 73 78