Shropshire’s Harriet Allsebrook survived a birdie blitz and a marathon play-off to win the English U15 girls’ open championship at Tiverton, Devon.
She produced her own birdie on the fifth extra hole to end the spirited challenge of Warwickshire’s Victoria Mallett, who had come from seven shots behind to force the play-off.
“I managed to hole a 3ft putt,” said Harriet, 14, from Shifnal (image © Leaderboard Photography).“My legs were like jelly – it was awful. I’m glad it’s over!” On the previous hole, she’d sunk a testing eight-footer to stay in the play-off.
Harriet started today with a two-stroke lead and, after scoring one-under 73 in the third round, she was five shots clear of her closest challenger, Annabel Bailey of Notts Ladies. At that stage she was seven ahead of her playing partner, Victoria Mallett of Sutton Coldfield Ladies’.
With nine holes left to play Harriet was still five clear – but it was then that Victoria began her charge. She had a blistering back nine of three-under par, while Harriet was two-over – and both players were tied on three-over par after 72 holes.
That was something of a surprise for Harriet, who revealed: “I didn’t know what her score was, I hadn’t a clue because I was concentrating so hard on my game. Then I found out it was a play-off, it was a bit of a disappointment because I’d had a five-shot lead, but I won, so it was all right.
“When I looked at the card I realised she’d played really, really well to get back, she was awesome.”
Harriet, the new Shropshire girls’ champion, came in to the event aiming for a top five finish. “I played in it for the first time last year and didn’t make the cut, but it was a good experience. This year I knew I was on form so I wanted to finish in the top five – and I’ve actually won, so I’m very happy!”
Final leading scores
Par 74 CSS 74 74 74 74
299 Harriet Allsebrook (Shifnal) 75 72 73 79; Victoria Mallett (Sutton Coldfield Ladies’) 77 72 78 72 Allsebrook won at the 5th play-off hole
301 Annabel Bailey (Notts Ladies’) 77 75 73 76
302 Emily Price (Cleobury Mortimer) 76 77 73 76
303 Samantha Fuller (Roehampton) 72 78 75 78
305 Mollie Lawrence (Rochester & Cobham Park) 79 78 74 74
306 Olivia Hamilton (Cleckheaton & District) 75 80 77 74