Bel’s wonderful run in British girls’ championship

Bel Wardle runner up Brit girls 2016

England’s Bel Wardle enjoyed her best golfing achievement to date by reaching the final of the British girls’ championship at Royal St David’s Golf Club in Wales.

The 16-year-old England girl international was beaten only by a burst of brilliant golf which gave Italy’s Emilie Paltrinieri the title.

The two girls were all square after completing the first nine holes of the final on level par. But then the Italian – who won England’s U13 girls’ championship in 2014 – covered the next six holes in six-under par and won four of them.

The 14-year-old from Milan had a winning par at the 10th, birdie 2 at the 11th, eagle 3 at the 12th, half in birdies at the 13th, birdie 2 at the 14th, and a half in birdies to finish the contest at the 15th with a 4/3 win. 

"There was not much I could do against that, but I enjoyed the experience,” said Wardle, pictured with the runner-up trophy (image courtesy The LGU).

She had a great championship, qualifying for the match play in eighth place with scores of 71 73 for a two-under total.

She went on to beat Ireland's Niamh McSherry by 3/2 in the very wet first round, before a superb win over Cecillie Finne-Ipsen of Denmark when she was six under par – an eagle and four birdies – to win 6/5.

In the quarter-finals she defeated fellow England girl international Lily-May Humphreys (Channels) 2/1, commenting: “It was a really good match and it could have gone either way. I was never down and that was an advantage because it meant she had to chase the game all the way, but she did that rather well."

She followed up with a 2/1 win over Italy’s Alessia Nobilio in the semi-final, remarking: “I love match-play, but I was very, very nervous over the first two holes before I settled. My hands were shaking after I hit the first tee shot.

“I knew I had to pull myself together if I was not going to let this great chance to reach a British final pass me by. I said to myself 'I really want to win this, so get a grip of yourself,' … and I did.

"Although I had a good lead for most of the semi-final, I still had to play well to win and I am lucky that my best form of the season has coincided with the British girls' championship.”

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In the Boys’ Amateur championship at Muirfield and The Renaissance, the English challenge was led by Danny Daniels (Essendon) and Charlie Thornton (Fulford) who both reached the quarter-finals, before losing close matches to the eventual finalists.

Daniels went to the 22nd before bowing out to Alejandro Aguilero of Spain, while Thornton lost 1 down to Falko Hanisch of Germany.

England boy international Harry Goddard (Hanbury Manor) was joint second qualifier after shooting a superb 65 at Renaissance Club to finish on four-under-par. He was the leading qualifier from Great Britain and Ireland, bowing out in the second round to Thornton.

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