England’s Emily Toy defeated Amelie Garvey by one hole to capture The 116th Women’s Amateur Championship at Royal County Down.
After Ireland’s wait for its ninth Women’s Amateur Champion was put to bed for another year when Aine Donegan, Anna Foster and Paula Grant all bowed out of championship, it was 21-year old Toy who prevailed in the 18-hole final around the renowned links on the east coast of Northern Ireland.
Cornwall’s Toy, the 450th ranked amateur in the world, who had earlier defeated Sweden’s Linn Grant in the semi-finals, became the first English player to win the title since Georgia Hall in 2013, sealing a spot in the AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn in August thanks to her triumph.
“It’s amazing to win,” said Toy. “I played really solidly all week. I stayed in the moment in the final and handled my nerves. I really struggled this morning off the tee but I found the fairways this afternoon which gave me the chances. My putting was also really solid from long distance.
“I went to Australia in January and won the New South Wales stroke play, but it was a match play tournament so it didn’t feel like a win. I’ve been hunting one down and been playing quite nicely this year so to do it here is amazing.
“I was saying to my parents last week I’ve got to do the qualifying for the Women’s British Open but I’m in now so how cool is that?
“It’s amazing to have these major opportunities now. I look forward to a couple of days of rest and then it will all sink in.”
A wonderfully well-run event, the Women’s Amateur at Royal County Down got the ball rolling on an exciting golfing summer for Ireland with The Open set for Royal Portrush next month as well as the Irish Open at Lahinch.
Royal County Down hosted the event for a ninth occasion – exactly 120 years after its first staging in 1899. The action on display should have whetted the appetite for what’s to come, not least this coming week’s Amateur Championship, Monday 17-Saturday 22nd, where 17 of the world’s top-50 golfers will compete at The Island and Portmarnock.
With Alan Dunbar the last Irish player to win the title in 2012 at Royal Troon, Portmarnock’s 21-year old Conor Purcell hopes to build on a season that has seen him win the Australian Amateur Championship in January to get Irish eyes smiling once more.
Entry is free of charge throughout the week for all spectators at Portmarnock and The Island, while live scoring, news and video can be followed on The R&A’s website and social media platforms.