Georgina Blackman showed nerves of steel to win the English Women’s Amateur Championship in a tense showdown at The Wilmslow Golf Club in Cheshire.
The 22-year-old from Chelmsford in Essex held off the challenge of two Curtis Cup players and proven champions to take the title by a shot.
“I’m still shaking,” she said after claiming the trophy. “If you had told me at the beginning of the week that I would win I would never have believed you. It feels really good and it means I can start believing in myself, especially as so many good players were involved.”
Blackman finished on eight-under par, helped by a crucial birdie two on the 17th where she holed out from 30ft. It edged her ahead of her challengers and after a solid par on the last the title was hers.
The runners-up were the Curtis Cup players Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe) and Annabell Fuller (Roehampton), who finished on seven under. Nicola Slater (Lindrick), the English women’ matchplay champion, and Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay), a star of the university circuit, tied fourth on six under.
The players spent the final round locked in the closest of battles which provided a great show for the spectators. Challenges were made as first one led, then another, then two or three of them would tie for the lead as they traded birdies and bogeys.
Toy led by one at the start but she struggled over the opening holes and slipped back – only to resurrect her challenge on the back nine. Lamb, meanwhile looked in great shape after three consecutive birdies on the back nine took her to eight-under, but a couple of bogeys proved too costly, despite a last ditch birdie on 18. Fuller was always in touch with the lead but couldn’t find a birdie in the last six holes. Slater put her foot down early on to get right in the mix and looked in great shape with a 16th hole birdie – only to drop one at the next.
Blackman, meanwhile, played steadily and, as has been her trademark all week, made ground on the back nine. She got into the lead with a 13th hole birdie, dropped back into the tie with a bogey on 15, but then conjured up the winning stroke on the 17th.
It’s her first major win and it comes after she graduated from Western Kentucky University in May with a degree in business communications. The four years she spent there “100% helped my golf, playing every day and getting into a good routine made a big difference.”
But she returned home planning to relax, play some golf in preparation for a full schedule of amateur events next year – and now finds herself a national champion.
“I tried not to think about it, but I knew the scores were close and that I had been playing solid, but I didn’t want to get ahead of myself,” she said.
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