Annabell Fuller birdied her way to victory in a play-off against Thalia Kirby for the English U16 girls’ open championship at Blackmoor Golf Club, Hampshire.
The pair tied on three-under par to set up Fuller’s fifth play-off in a year – and the first one she has won. “I thought, I’m not going to lose another one,” said the 15- year-old international from Roehampton, Surrey.
She wasted no time, scoring a birdie three on the first extra hole to secure the title – after she’d birdied the last two holes of regulation play to force the play-off.
Kirby made sure that Fuller had to fight for the title. The 16-year-old from Harleyford, Buckinghamshire, made all the running in this morning’s second round with a score of four-under 68, while Fuller scored 75.
It meant Kirby was six-under after 36 holes, five ahead of her closest challengers and six ahead of Fuller.
The gap didn’t dismay Fuller: “I thought I would just try my best and go as low as possible,” she said. The strategy worked, after nine holes she was two-under and tied with Kirby, but after 12 she’d dropped three behind again. She picked away at the deficit with a birdie on 13 but was still two behind after 16 holes.
On the short 17th she fired her tee shot straight at the pin and was rewarded with a 4ft birdie putt which she holed. On the long 18th her second shot rolled back off the green, but she chipped up stone dead, while Kirby three-putted down the treacherous slope. Fuller signed for 69, Kirby for 75 and it was on to the play-off.
The victory was particularly sweet for Fuller, who tied fifth last year – with a 14 on her card in the last round. “I wanted to win, especially after last year so I came determined,” she said.
She also wanted to win an age group championship to follow her sister Sammy, a fellow England international. “It’s nice to follow in her footsteps and it’s also nice to actually do it for myself.
“But I wouldn’t be in the place I am right now without my sister. She’s a big motivation for me and one of the nicest things is that I can practice with her and learn from her. She’s one of the most supportive people I know.”
Third place in the championship went to Italy’s Alice Gatti on two under, while her compatriot Virginia Bossi was fourth on one-under. Charlotte Heath (Huddersfield, Yorkshire) was fifth on two-over and Mimi Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow) shared sixth place on four over.
The championship was reduced to 54 holes after the second round was washed out by torrential rain.
Image copyright Leaderboard photography