Germany’s Marie Bechtold withstood a late charge from English Internationals Caitlin Whitehead and Jessica Baker to win the English Girls’ Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at The Gog Magog Golf Club in Cambridge.
Bechtold was seven shots in front of Whitehead and nine ahead of Baker after opening with rounds of 71, 71 and 68 but in the end needed a birdie on penultimate hole to regain the lead before going on to par the last to card a 73 and finish one shot ahead of Whitehead on five-under par 283.
16-year-old Baker, from Gosforth Park Ladies in Northumberland, began the event with rounds of 81 and 72 to make the cut by just two shots but then fired two successive six-under par 66’s to storm up into a share of third place with Germany’s Chiara Horder and France’s Pyrene Delample on three-under par 285.
18-year-old Bechtold becomes the second successive German to lift the trophy after her friend and St Leon Rot club colleague Celina Sattelkau became the first overseas winner of the championship 12 months ago at East Devon.
“It’s fantastic to win this championship and even better to do it after Celina,” she said. “She’s a great friend of mine and she texted me this morning to wish me luck.
“I was told on the 17th tee that I was tied for the lead so the birdie there was important and so was the par on the last.
“I was under a bit of pressure so it is good to know I could handle it and go on and win.
“I’m just glad it’s over, to be honest, and now be able to celebrate with the rest of the team.”
Whitehead’s golf has been curtailed this season because she has been sitting exams so she was delighted to get a good tournament under her belt. She shot 71 and 75 in tough conditions over the first two days before completing the tournament with a 71 and a 67 which included a pitching wedge to three inches on the last for a closing birdie.
“That was a great way to finish,” said the 16-year-old from Carus Green in Cumbria. “I’ve been sitting my GCSE’s so I was pleased to play so well. I played well all week and my approach play was very good.
“To be honest, I had no idea how close it was at the end,” she added. “I saw the leaderboard on the 14th and at that time she (Celina) was seven under and I was three under, so I thought I was fighting for second place. It has been a very good tournament for me and one that gets me in shape for next week’s (Girls’) Home Internationals.”
Further down the leaderboard, English first round leader Charlotte Heath, from Huddersfield, closed with a one-under par 71 to finish sixth on one-over par 289 while a 71 from last year’s runner-up, Kirsten Rudgeley from Australia, gave her a share of seventh place with Ffion Tynan from Wales two shots further back.
Tynan won the Hazards Class as the leading under 16-year-old in the field. Her closing 72 saw her finish ten shots ahead of Scotland’s Grace Crawford in that category.
Photo: Credit Leaderboard Photography.