Finland’s Kerttu Hiltunen swept away with the English U16 girls’ open championship at Lyme Regis, finishing 11-under par and 11 shots clear of the field.
After she holed her winning putt her fellow Finnish players ran on to the 18th green to soak her with water in celebration.
The 15-year-old had a three shot lead at the halfway stage and took charge of the championship in this morning’s third round, when she scored one-under 73 and extended her lead to five shots.
The final round was something of a procession as she played her way to a closing 72 – and the most convincing of victories. “This means everything,” said Hiltunen, who has already won the Finnish international U16 title this year.
English players Ellie Gower (Chateaux des Vigier) Rafiah Banday (Royal Mid Surrey) and Jess Baker (Gosforth Park Ladies) all tried to challenge during the day, but there was just no stopping Hiltunen.
The trio finished in a tie for second place on level par, with Gower shooting one-under in the final round.
Hiltunen has been playing in the English U14 and U16 championships for three years and dearly wanted a win. She’s come close before and this year she was determined to claim the silverware.
She came into the event in great form, having just taken the U16 Hazards Salver at the English U18 girls’ championship and she was confident from the start, when she opened with six-under 68. She kept up the momentum and each of her rounds were below par.
Hiltunen has been working very hard on the practice ground and she commented: “I thought I was going to win because my swing is so good and it is getting better every day,” she said.
Next, she turns her attention to the British girls’ championship – and she thinks she can win there too! Watch this space.
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