Isabella wins English crown by 11 strokes

Austria’s Isabella Holpfer completed a remarkable wire-to-wire victory in the English women’s open amateur championship when she finished 11 shots clear of the field at Coventry Golf Club.

The 17-year-old was 13-under par and dominated the championship from the word go. In the first round she shot seven-under 66 and was six clear of the field – and sending a very loud message to her rivals.

She marked time in round two, with a level par score, but her challengers stayed five behind her. Then, in today’s final 36 holes she put her foot down, with a plan “to make as many birdies as I could.”

She was five-under this morning and opened up a 10 shot lead and she followed up with a triumphant procession around the course this afternoon, signing off with one-under par 72.

“This is pretty good!” she said. “This is my last tournament of the season and I’ve had a pretty good season so it’s nice to finish off with a win.”

Holpfer arrived at Coventry straight from the British girls’ championship, where she was runner-up, and the experience had both honed her and made her hungry for a win.

“I was in pretty good mood from the British girls. I was playing good and I came here prepared, already warmed up,” she commented.

This is one of her biggest wins and she adds it to the Irish women’s open, which she won as a 14-year-old, and the Slovenian ladies championship, earlier this season.

It is also helping her season’s ambition of improving her world ranking. “I had a bad season two years ago and I fell back in the world rankings to around 700th from the 200s.” This week she discovered she had reached a personal high of 226th – and it will improve further after this win.

Her performance at Coventry won her many, admiring friends who marvelled at her prowess. Holpfer rarely made mistakes, but if she did find trouble she generally had the answer.

This morning she holed out of a bunker. This afternoon, when blocked out by trees, she played the most imaginative shot to the ninth green, threading the ball between bunkers and around the contours of a bank. And then she almost holed the birdie putt!

“My long game was good, I was pretty confident with my driver and didn’t make too many mistakes – and most of the time I was putting pretty well,” she said.

Now Holpfer heads off on holiday with her parents – father Gunter was on the bag this week – and then it’s back to school.

The runner-up on two-under par was Pasqualle Coffa of the Netherlands, followed by Ireland’s Jessica Ross, who took third place on level.

The leading English players, all scoring one-over, were Georgia Price (Bude & North Cornwall), Cara Gainer (Castle Royle) and Lily May Humphreys (Stoke by Nayland).

Full scores can be found here