English Women’s Amateur – Day One: Fuller off to a flyer

Annabell Fuller enjoyed posting some ‘accidental’ birdies on her way to the top of the day one leaderboard at the English Women’s Amateur Championship.

Playing at Headingley Golf Club, the England women’s squad member fired a five under round of 68 to lead by two shots from international colleagues Hannah Screen and Charlotte Heath.

Screen’s round of 70 was also played on the rolling hills of Headingley.

Meanwhile, Heath’s three under par total was posted while playing at Moortown which was statistically the tougher of the two courses being used for the stroke play element of this championship.

On Wednesday, the 84 women in the field switch courses and complete the 36-hole stroke play qualifying for the match play stages of the championship.

The top 32 players will progress to the knockout stages to be held exclusively at Moortown.

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Surrey’s Fuller entered this event in fine form having helped England win the European Team Championships at Royal County Down earlier in the month.

Heath, too, was part of that team so it was no surprise to see these two contend along with Screen and another member of the squad, Caley McGinty, who ended her day at Moortown on two under par alongside Harriet Lynch from Thorndon Park.

Defending champion Emily Price also played nicely to secure a one under par round of 72 at Headingley and make steady progress towards the match play.

Fuller, though, could not be caught even if some of her successes on the day came as a pleasant surprise.

“It’s quite funny,” she admitted having just finished her round prior to a one-hour weather delay due to thunder and lightning.

“I didn’t realise that two of the holes were par fives and I just played them as par fours and realised after that I had made birdies!

“I hit it close for other birdies and without realising it I’d made a few birdies on the trot.

“I’ve been hitting it nice recently, I played the European Teams and did nicely there and was looking forward to coming into this week for a match play event.

“Taking confidence into match play is the thing as you want to play aggressively.

“If you’ve not been playing the greatest golf then you have less confidence going for aggressive lines.”

Fuller’s round included six birdies and just the one blemish on the seventh hole.

Last year, the Roehampton golfer claimed the English Women’s Stroke Play title at Burnham and Berrow and is certainly showing the sort of form that might earn her a crack at the 2021 English Women’s Amateur.

She added: “It would be nice to add the match play title, so I’m sure going for that.”

Screen, from Berkhamsted, was unhappy with how she drove the ball on the front nine.

However, she took heart from the way she came good in the closing section of her round with three birdies and an eagle from the 12th.

“I struggled off the tee to start with,” confirmed Screen.

“But I reigned it back in and made the scores on the back nine.

“I hit a nice seven-iron to three feet on 15 to make eagle so that was the highlight.”

There are four players nicely placed at one under par – including Katy Yates from Clacton-on-Sea who set her alarm for 5am in order to strike the opening shot of the championship two hours later.

Nicola Slater from Lindrick (pictured above) played a shot to remember at the 17th hole at Headingley – holing out from 139 yards with a six-iron for an ace.

 

Photography credit: Leaderboard