Dorset’s Sophie Keech birdied the 18th to win the final of the English women’s open matchplay championship at Trentham, Staffordshire – and claim her second national title.
“It’s a special feeling,” said Keech (image © Leaderboard Photography), who won the English girls’ championship in 2013 and was a girl international.
Her four on the par five 18th ended the challenge of the host club’s Emily Coleman, who was bidding for a win on home ground.
The final was very close, particularly over the back nine. Keech had reached the turn at two up, but lost the 10th to a par, after encountering trouble, and then lost the 11th to a birdie.
The players halved the next six holes, with Keech (Parkstone) sinking good putts on the 13th and 16th to keep the scoreline all square. Her putter was again reliable on the 17th where she two-putted safely from about 45ft for another half.
She hit the 18th in two, using a six-iron for her 220-year approach to the green, but left more work for her putter. “I was probably 35ft away and it was horrible! I had to aim about 10ft right of the hole and bring it round. I left it about 4ft short, with a bit of swing, but my holing out has been good this week and I felt confident.”
Keech, 19, spent last week with Dorset at their County Match Week which, she says, proved good practice for this event. It’s her first outright win of the season, after sharing the Astor Salver with Dulcie Sverdloff of Essex and she added: “It’s nice to have something for myself.”
Coleman was upbeat after the final, saying: “We had such a good fight, such a good tussle and I’ve had a fantastic few days, it’s been brilliant and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I am disappointed, but what can you do? I lost to a birdie and I did my best, I couldn’t give it any more.”
Now, she thinks she’s earned a day off! She played for Staffordshire in County Match Week immediately before teeing up at Trentham and has played a total of 13 rounds in one week.
But she’ll soon be back, encouraged by her performance. “It’s Hunstanton in a couple of weeks – I can’t wait,” said Coleman, as she looked forward to the English women’s amateur championship, where Keech will also be playing.
In this morning’s semi-finals Coleman beat Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe) 2up and Keech beat Duclie Sverdloff (Orsett) 2/1.
Click here for all the scores.