Maggie Whitehead and Rosie Bee Kim today celebrated victory in their respective sections at the English Girls’ Under 16/14 Open Championship.
England girls’ squad player Whitehead carded rounds of 74 and 70 on the final day to finish on -7 (285) and win by nine shots in the 72-hole under 16 stroke play event staged at Morecambe Golf Club in Lancashire.
Buckinghamshire golfer Kim took the plaudits and the prize in the under 14 section after completing the 54-hole championship with a final round 76 and posting a winning total of 224 (+5)
Maisie Whittall from Gaudet Luce won the handicap prize for under 14s with a winning score of +1.
Whitehead started the day one shot behind North Hants golfer Gemma Burgess who had led through rounds one and two.
However, the 15-year-old from Close House thrived under the pressure and dealt with wet and windy conditions to overtake Burgess and push for her first national title.
Burgess closed with rounds of 79 and 75 to finish runner up.
A total of nine birdies in the final 36 holes was impressive shooting from Whitehead.
After receiving the trophy, Whitehead said: “I’m honestly over the moon.
“I was third in the Under 18s last week at Malton and Norton and came here open-minded, played my best golf, survived in today’s weather and came off with the win.
“It honestly means the world. To be in my own age grpup and perform the way I have done as the only golfer under par is something I’m pleased with.
“I had swing problems last week but I had a talk with my coach and came here with a bit of a push.
“This morning I didn’t have much expectation as I knew the weather would be bad. I didn’t focus on the score – just getting it round. I tried to let the birdies drop and avoid the bogeys.
“Key to my success was staying patient.”
Past winners of the under 16 event include Georgia Hall and Whitehead admitted it felt special to put her name alongside that of the 2018 Women’s Open champion and Solheim Cup winner as well as a former England friend and colleague.
“It feels special to know where these guys are know. I also know Lily May Humphreys from England Golf and it’s nice to know that I’m following in their footsteps,” confirmed Whitehead.
For Kim the victory helped go some way to make up for the disappointment of losing out by a single shot to Patience Rhodes in last week’s English Girls’ Under 18 Championship.
Kim won today by eight shots from Imogen Williamson and said: “It means a lot to me – I wasn’t expecting it. To have this title is a dream.
“I started well today but the weather was brutal.
“The wind always seemed to be against you.
“This win gives me confidence to know that I have the ability to play like this and make expectations higher for myself.”
Photography credit: Leaderboard