Bel Wardle and Kirsten Rudgeley came through epic semi finals to set up a Sunday showdown in the final of the English Women’s Amateur Championship.
Wardle and Rudgeley will contest the trophy over 36 holes of match play at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds after both women battled their way through last-four ties and earned victories over Amelia Williamson and Annabell Fuller respectively.
For Cheshire’s Wardle, the final represents an opportunity to add to her trophy cabinet having lifted the English Women’s Open Stroke Play title in 2017 and the Women’s Champion of Champions trophy two years later.
Rudgeley, meanwhile, is looking to round off an excellent week’s play which has seen her get past Ellena Slater, Ellie Gower, Mia Eales-Smith and Fuller en route to Sunday’s final.
On a memorable afternoon at the Yorkshire course, Rudgeley edged past Fuller on the 21st hole after previously holding a three-hole lead with only four left to play and she admits she cannot wait for Sunday’s final.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” she said. “To do well in any tournament and particularly to get to the final is awesome.
“Annabell holed two fantastic putts to stay in the game but I just had to remember all the positive things I had done during the day.
“I’m just going to go home tonight, rest up, eat some good food and be ready for tomorrow morning.”
Earlier in the day, Wardle had put in an outstanding display to beat Jess Baker 6&5 but the best was yet to come as she produced an exceptional comeback to get past Williamson and earn herself a place in the final.
An outstanding front nine had put Williamson into a commanding three-hole lead but when she missed a putt to go 4 up on the 11th, Wardle took advantage and never looked back.
She went on to hole a terrific putt at the 14th and with the momentum all in her favour, she won three of the final five holes to secure a 2 up victory and a place in Sunday’s final, much to the Prestbury golfer’s delight.
Wardle has been travelling to and from Manchester every day throughout the tournament and admitted that sleep may be in short supply on Saturday night with such an exciting moment in her golfing career on the horizon.
“I hope I get quite a lot of sleep tonight because that was a tough match,” she said.
“I felt like I was playing really well throughout the match, despite being 3 down, and I just had to keep believing in myself and stay positive.
“I got through the 11th hole and then won the 12th and that proved to be a bit of a turning point for me. From then on, I was striking the ball well, putting well and fortunately it was enough for me today.
“I’m really excited for the final now. It would mean a massive amount for me to win this tournament and lift the trophy on Sunday so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Given the resilience of both players and the quality of their play throughout the week, Sunday’s final is set to be a thriller and the match will be broadcast live with ContentLIVE once again on site to bring viewers on the England Golf YouTube channel close to the action.
The first round tees off at 8.45am and spectators are welcome to attend the final of one of amateur golf’s most prestigious events.
Photography credit: Leaderboard