Lily May Humphreys further underlined her career potential as she pushed for victory and fell just short of the winning total posted by Gemma Dryburgh in the third event of the Rose Ladies Series.
The 18-year-old England women’s international is no stranger to the top of a leaderboard having won the 2019 Welsh and Irish Ladies Opens, the Annika Europe event and, just prior to lockdown in March, the Sunningdale Foursomes.
Coming down the stretch at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club, the Essex teenager – one of only three amateurs in the field of 54 – harboured genuine dreams of winning in a professional event.
In the end, plus-six handicapper Humphreys had to settle for one under par round of 71 and a tie for fourth alongside LPGA winner Charley Hull.
Scotland’s Dryburgh carded six birdies in a round of 69 to edge one ahead of English duo Georgia Hall and Cara Gainer and two clear of Humphreys.
It was another fine all-round showing from England’s top women amateurs with Ellie Gower also sealing a tie for eighth after a level par round and Hannah Screen recovering from two bad holes on the front nine to come home in 34 for a total of four over par.
Humphreys proved to be a model of consistency on the front nine with eight straight pars.
The run ended on the ninth – not that the golfer from Stoke by Nayland was upset. A birdie two on the 175-yard par three allowed her to reach the turn in 36.
A bogey five at the 10th was swiftly remedied with a birdie at the very next hole.
Another run of four pars then put England Golf’s women and girls’ Order of Merit winner from 2019 firmly in contention for victory.
In fact, the Curtis Cup player was tied for the lead with three others after 15 holes and then took solo charge with another birdie two at the 161-yard 16th hole as she moved to two under par.
A bogey five at the 17th hole halted her charge and that, combined with back-to-back birdies from Hall on the 13th and 14th holes allowed the 2018 Women’s British Open champion to take up a familiar place at the top of the leaderboard before being pipped in a dramatic finale.
Humphreys, though, can take great heart from her performance proving once again why she is ranked 18th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Gower, pictured above, birdied the fifth, ninth and 14th holes in a fine level par round of 72.
The 17-year-old can be proud of ending the day in a tie for eighth.
For the second week running in this series, two England amateurs have achieved top ten finishes.
Last week sisters Samantha and Annabell Fuller finished tied for second and seventh respectively at Moor Park Golf Club.
Gower, studying at the University of Colorado Boulder, didn’t panic after dropping three shots in her first three holes.
In fact she displayed skill and heart to bounce back into contention while playing a group also containing former British Open champion Hall and Cloe Frankish who joined Gower on level par for the day.
England Golf’s other amateur representative, Hannah Screen, was left to rue two disappointing holes on her front nine as she made a competitive return to golf after lockdown.
The England women’s overseas player counted the cost of slips at the first and seventh holes en route to a round of 76.
Birdies at the fifth, 11th and 15th holes, as well as the experience of teeing it up alongside Hull and Gabriella Cowley will stand the 20-year-old Oklahoma University student in good stead as she heads to next week’s Faldo Series event at Brockett Hall.
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The Rose Ladies Series continues next week with a visit to Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent – the venue for the 2021 Open Championship.