Teenage international Lizzie Prior pulled off an impressive wire-to-wire victory in the girls’ championship at the weather-hit Fairhaven Trophies in Lancashire.
“I was gunning for a win, but it’s a lot nicer to know I started in the lead and ended in the lead – that’s definitely an achievement for me,” said Prior, from Burhill in Surrey. She was five-under par for 54 holes and won by three shots.
England also retained the Nations Cup, thanks to Hollie Muse (West Lancashire), Toby Briggs (Dunston Hall) and George Gardner (Castle Royle) who won by four shots from Ireland. Muse, who was joint runner-up in the girls’ event, was also in last year’s winning team.
Briggs came close to giving England a clean sweep of the titles. He finished runner-up in the boys’ championship, two strokes behind Sweden’s Joacim Ahlund.
The tournament was hit by heavy overnight rain after the second round and the final day’s play was reduced from 36 holes to 18. When play finally got underway, conditions were excellent. “It was bright and sunny, really nice,” said Prior.
She came to this event with memories of last year, when she shared the lead at the halfway stage, only to stay in the slipstream as Lancashire’s Sophie Lamb played the last two rounds in nine-under par.
This time, Prior was determined to win: “I wasn’t going for second!” she said afterwards.
She opened her account with a score of three-under 72 which led the girls’ event by a shot from rivals including another girl international, Emma Allen of Hampshire. She added level par on the second day, when breezy, wet conditions made scoring tricky, and extended her lead to two shots. A final round of two-under 73 clinched it for her and she finished three clear of Muse and Scotland’s Shannon McWilliam.
Briggs, meanwhile, was moving steadily up the leaderboard in the boys’ event after sharing 29th place on three-over 75 after the first round. He scored level par 72 on the second day, helped by holing a fairway shot for an eagle two on the par four seventh. It moved him into a group of players who shared fourth place, which also included Sam Done (Kenwick Park).
In the final round Briggs, an U16 international from Norfolk, returned two-under 70 for a total of one-over par. It set a challenging target for the remaining four players to chase – and only Ahlund got past him. Done, who scored 71 in the last round, took third place
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