England’s Caitlin Whitehead powered away to win her first major title with a three-shot victory in the girls’ European Young Masters at Hauger Golf Club in Norway.
The 15-year old from Cumbria put her foot down over the last three holes, playing them in one-under, to break clear of the charging Spanish player, Carolina Lopez-Chacarra.
Whitehead finished on three-under par, while her challenger faded over the closing holes with bogeys on 16 and 18, dropping back to level par for the 54-hole event.
“I’m really pleased,” said Whitehead, from Carus Green Golf Club. “I’ve been playing well all season and been quite consistent but hadn’t managed to win many tournaments. So I’m happy to have finished one off.”
Whitehead is only the second English player to win this title, after Lily May Humphreys was successful in 2017.
The championship was played on a hilly course in hot temperatures, only relieved by a breeze in the final round – which added to the challenge.
Whitehead opened with one-under, to be two off the pace. She took the lead with her second round of three-under 69, which included an eagle three on the third.
“I hit 17 greens in regulation which made it a bit harder to make a bogey and a lot easier to make a birdie. I just had to rely on my putting,” she said.
“I haven’t held the lead in a tournament with a round to go so I was just trying to treat it as another round. If I played well, I played well; if I didn’t I didn’t. As long as I did my best, that was all I could do.”
The first tee nerves weren’t too bad but the tension ramped up over the closing holes. Whitehead had been concerned with the progress of her playing partner, but with three holes left she realised she had been caught by Lopez-Chacarra, playing in the group in front.
“I knew I needed to be one-under for the last three holes to have a chance, but when she bogeyed the 16th it gave me a bit of a buffer,” said Whitehead.
However, she took no chances. She chipped and putted for a birdie on the long 16th and parred the last two holes to take the title. “I really enjoyed it, it was really good,” she said.
Lopez-Chacarra tied for second place with Sweden’s Ester Fagersten.
Images courtesy the European Golf Association