England teenager Lily May Humphreys capped a superb year when she won the girls’ title at the Junior Orange Bowl International in Florida by the hefty margin of nine shots.
She’s the first English player to win the prestigious event, scoring nine-under par over 72 holes at the Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Miami.
“This is very big for me because I came over just to experience what it’s like to play on American courses. To win this is just amazing for me,” said the 15-year-old England girl international.
It’s her fourth big title of 2017, following wins in the British girls’, English women’s and European Young Masters championships.
“It’s definitely been a year to remember. I didn’t think I’d be able to top 2016 but I have! I’ll just have to try to do the same next year,” commented Humphreys, who trains with an England Golf squad.
Humphreys, from Stoke by Nayland Golf Club in Essex, was making her first visit to the USA and, despite having to get used to the different grass, she made an instant impact by taking fifth place in the Dixie Amateur on seven-under par.
When she moved on to the Junior Orange Bowl she was at the top of the leaderboard throughout, sharing first place after her first round of two-under 69 and then forging ahead on her own with rounds of 67 66 73.
Her third round 66 was the low score of the girls’ championship and put her 10 shots clear of the field. Her opponents could barely dent that advantage as she signed off with 73, compiled in chilly, windy conditions, and including a sought-after birdie on the 18th. “It was nice to do that in the final round, after trying all week, in front of everyone watching,” said Humphreys.
Humphreys adds her name to a list of former champions who include a host of players who have gone on to win Majors, such as Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson.
But apart from the win she also enjoyed “the weather and meeting lots of different people to make friends with.”
Another England player, Annabell Fuller of Roehampton, Surrey, tied 20th after rounds of 75 76 76 75. Fuller, also 15, is the English girls’ U16 champion and, like Humphreys, has been named in the initial GB&I squad for the 2018 Curtis Cup match.
In the boys’ championship, Ben Jones of Northamptonshire County tied 28th with rounds of 70 73 72 75. Jones won the England Golf boys’ Order of Merit for 2017 and is a member of the England Golf men’s A squad.