Junior Open third place for Gabriella Cowley

Darren Clarke and Gabriella Cowley

England’s Gabriella Cowley finished a fine third in an international field at the weather-hit Junior Open at Fairhaven, in Lancashire. 

For the first time the biennial event, which accompanies The Open, was won by a girl, Asuka Kashiwabara from Japan. She set another record with her astonishing scoring of 16-under par which gave her a winning margin of 14 shots.  

Italy's Renato Paratore from Rome was third on two-under-par, followed by Gabriella on two-over par. A total of 68 nations contested the event for U16 boys and girls.

Gabriella, an England girl international from West Essex, showed great composure and impressive powers of recovery throughout the 54-hole event.  

Her first round of 74, compiled in the worst of the weather, and her second round of two-under 72, each included a triple bogey. On both occasions, she recovered in great style and was in second place at the start of the final round.

Early on, she had double bogeys at three holes in succession – the third, fourth and fifth – and reached the turn in six-over 42. But, she came back in two-under 36 with birdies at the 10th, 11th and 18th, set against a bogey at the 14th, for a round of four-over 78.

"I'm disappointed with my last round and those double bogeys, but I played better over the last nine holes," said Gabriella who is the English U15 and Scottish U16 open champion. "But, overall, I enjoyed the tournament very much. It was a great experience."

Gabriella will represent England in the girls’ Home Internationals in August.

Play in the Junior Open was suspended during the second round with competitors returning the following morning to complete their scores. This also meant that there was time only for the leading 33 players to contest the final 18 holes, instead of the leading 80 and ties.


Gabriella beats par in weather-hit Junior Open

17 July 2012

Girl international Gabriella Cowley scored two-under par 72 in the second round of the weather-hit Junior Open at Fairhaven – despite another triple bogey.

She’s currently lying second, behind the runaway leader, Asuka Kashiwabara, a 16-year-old Japanese girl. Asuka added a five-under-par 69 to her first round of eight-under-par 66, giving her an astonishing 36-hole tally of 13-under-par 135 from two bogey free rounds.

The golf course was flooded by heavy rain in the afternoon and later starters were unable to complete their rounds. Play was abandoned for the day and those who have still to complete their second rounds will do so in a shotgun start at 9.30am tomorrow.

The number of players qualifying for the final round has been cut from 80 to 30 and will start at lunchtime.  

Gabriella, the English U15 and Scottish U16 stroke play champion, was first off at 8am and bettered her first round score by two shots, despite having another triple bogey. Yesterday it was the ninth which caught her out, today it was the 13th – and again she recovered with great aplomb.

The West Essex player had birdied the par-3 second, the par-4 sixth and the par-4 eighth on her way to a bogey-free outward half of three-under 33.

She got to four-under at the long 11th but then ran up a seven at the par 4 13th where she was in the water on the right off the tee and took five to reach the green.

As she did in the first round, Gabriella kept her chin up and finished with four pars and a pitch-and-putt birdie 4 at the long closing hole.  

She said afterwards: “I've come off the last green both days thinking I could have scored at least a couple of shots better, especially after having a triple bogey both rounds. But, two-under par for two rounds at Fairhaven isn’t bad, is it?"



Gabriella's fine start at Junior Open

17 July 2012

England’s Gabriella Cowley took on the worst of the weather at the Junior Open at Fairhaven, Lancashire, yesterday – and replied with a level par 74.

She’s sharing third place in the R&A event, which is contested by an interntional field of over 120 boys and girls, all aged under 16.

Gabriella, who will represent England in the girls’ home internationals, overcame a testing wobble in her round to return her impressive score. She dropped a shot at the eighth before taking a triple bogey seven on the ninth.

Despite that, she reached the turn at two-over par and came home in two-under with three birdies and a solitary bogey on the 16th. Gabriella is the English U15 girls’ champion and the Scottish U16 stroke play titleholder.

For most of the day the field fought against the rain, the rough and a tough course with punishing bunkers. The clubhouse was awash with disaster as scores soared into the 100s.

Only two players – one of them Gabriella – had matched the par of 74 until a remarkable improvement in the standard of scoring in the last hour of play. Then as conditions calmed, there was a rush of very good scores.

The best came from a Japanese girl, Asuka Kashiwabara, with a bogey free eight-under par 66. On the boys' side, the best score, also returned very late the day was a two-under-par 72 by Anderson Nunes  of Brazil).  Chasing him home was Ireland's Marc Boucher with a 73.

After today’s second round the leading 80 players and ties will go forward to the final round tomorrow. England’s other representative, Stefan Gnyla, 13, of Copt Heath, Warwickshire, was disqualified for using a distance-measuring device, not permitted under the rules of the competition.


Darren Clarke meets Junior Open competitors

16 July 2012

England girl international Gabriella Cowley rubbed shoulders with Open champion Darren Clarke when he met the competitors for the R&A Junior Open Championship, which got underway this morning at Fairhaven Golf Club in Lancashire.

Clarke, who begins the defence of his title on Thursday at Royal Lytham & St Annes, took the Claret Jug trophy with him when he joined the juniors yesterday for their opening ceremony. He is pictured here with Gabriella, the English U15 girls’ champion and Scottish U16 stroke play titleholder.

Gabriella, from West Essex, and Warwickshire’s Stefan Gnyla (Copt Heath) are representing England Golf in the championship. Stefan, 13, has been Warwickshire U12 and U14 champion, the Warwickshire Young Masters winner on three occasions and twice been a winner at the US Kids European Championships.

The R&A Junior Open, which is played every two years, is closely linked to The Open Championship and played on a nearby course.  A total of 122 competitors from 68 nations make the 10th Junior Open the most truly international golf championship for U16s in the world. Later in the week, the competitors will be taken to spectate at The Open