England’s Sammy Fuller birdied the last hole to force a sudden-death play-off in the Irish girls’ open stroke play championship at Roganstown.
But her bid for the title ended on the second hole of the play-off when Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey chipped dead to secure a winning birdie four – and her third consecutive victory in this championship.
Despite the disappointment Fuller had much to cheer about, for the result marked a return to fitness after a year of being hampered by a wrist injury.
“It’s been quite difficult, it’s affected my golf big-time,” said the 15-year-old from Roehampton in Surrey (image © Leaderboard Photography).
“Last year I was just playing through the pain and it got to the point when I couldn’t physically play anymore.” An MRI scan finally identified the problem in her left wrist and she had surgery three months ago. “The Irish girls’ was my first proper big tournament for ages and my aim was to finish it pain free, which I did,” said Fuller. “It’s 100 per cent better.”
Fuller had been two shots off the pace after 36 holes, while Mehaffey was a further stroke back. But in Sunday’s final round the overnight leader, Isabella Holpfer of Austria, slipped back after two bogeys and a double in her first nine holes.
Mehaffey shot level par 71 to take the clubhouse lead, but moments later Fuller tied her, holing a 10-footer on the 18th for her only birdie of the round and a closing 72.
“I played really well in the last round, I bogeyed two of the first four holes but then I hit pretty nearly every green and parred every single hole until the last, which I birdied to get in the play-off.”
The players set out to decide the title on the par three ninth, which they halved in par. On the par five 10th, Mehaffey overshot the green in two but chipped dead for her winning birdie.
The international team event was won by Sweden, one shot ahead of England, represented by Fuller, Emma Allen (Meon Valley) and Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe), and Scotland.