Girl international Annabell Fuller has returned from team triumph at the European Young Masters to lead the English girls’ championship on five-under par 68 at Littlestone, Kent.
The 15-year-old from Roehampton, Surrey, is a stroke ahead of Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer, Norfolk), Bel Wardle (Prestbury, Cheshire), Caley McGinty (Knowle, Gloucestershire) and Martha Lewis (St George’s Hill, Surrey)
Williamson and Wardle are also both girl internationals and they have just helped England win the bronze medal at the recent European girls’ team championship. McGinty was a member of the Gloucestershire team which won the 2016 English women’s county finals, while Lewis is a member of the England Golf girls’ squad.
A shot behind them is Megan Dennis (Woburn, Buckinghamshire) on three-under. Then there's a two-stroke gap to Chloe Howard (Boringdon Park, Devon) and Anna Ruttart of Germany. Three players returned scores of level par: Ellen Hume (Mill Green, Hertfordshire), Briony Bayles (Bishop Auckland, Durham), and Rhian Barton (Carden Park, Cheshire).
Fuller finished third individually in last weekend's European Young Masters and helped England win the team championship. “It was good motivation to do well here,” she said.
It also prompted her to work on her short putting which, she described as ‘not very good’ in Norway. Today she reaped the benefit: “My putting wasn’t amazing but my holing out was really good. I felt really confident from within 5ft and if you don’t miss short putts you can’t drop many shots.”
Her card included an eagle two on the eighth, where she chipped in from just under 30 yards and a birdie on 11, where her approach hit the flag and finished 1ft away.
The only blemish was a bogey on the par five 18th. “I was thinking about trying to get to seven-under but I hit my drive too hard and pulled it into a bunker,” she said.
Williamson made a brilliant start to her round with an eagle two on the first, where she pitched in from about 30 yards, and a two-putt birdie four on the second. “The rest was just solid,” said the 16-year-old, who finished with a birdie on 18.
Wardle was playing alongside Williamson and was on similar form. She almost chipped in for eagle on the seventh, where her ball hit the pin and stopped beside the hole for an easy birdie. It was one of five birdies she collected, alongside a solitary bogey.
She commented: “My iron play was really good today. I gave myself birdie opportunities and just rolled in the putts. I could have made more birdies, but I’ll take that four-under!”
McGinty (Knowle) enjoyed a rollercoaster of a round which featured an eagle three on the second, seven birdies, including four in a row from the fifth, and a handful of dropped shots. But each time she had a blip she came quickly back with a birdie to counter the damage.
Lewis also started her round in style with an eagle two on the first and, after birdies in the 5th, 7th and 8th, she reached the turn in five-under. On the way home another birdie, on the 13th, was sandwiched by bogeys.
After tomorrow’s second round the field will be cut to the leading 40 players and ties who will play the final 36 holes on Thursday.
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Caption: Annabell Fuller (image copyright Stills Photography)