Paula Grant will carry Irish hopes into the last-16 of this year’s Women’s Amateur Championship after progressing through the first two rounds at West Lancashire.
The Lisburn amateur was victorious twice on Thursday, overcoming Englishwoman Martha Lewis 3&2 in their first round match before taking down Finn Kiira Rijhijarvi 2&1 in the penultimate match of round two.
Grant will aim to book her place in the quarter finals on Friday morning when she squares off against England’s Caitlin Whitehead at 9.40am.
Earlier in the day, Beth Coulter lost 2 down in her first round match but there was high hopes for the remainder of Ireland’s contingent after both Clandeboye’s Jessica Ross and East Berkshire’s Laura Webb advanced to the second round of knockouts.
Sadly Webb, the oldest player in the knockouts at 57, was beaten 2&1 by Welshwoman Ffion Tynan in round two while Ross came up against a juggernaut in England’s Emily Toy who maintained her bid to successfully defend the title with a comfortable 5&4 triumph over Ross.
“I’m trying not to give up the title,” said Toy. “Obviously, making the cut on the mark was a relief and coming through two rounds I’m pleased to be where I am. It was a really good match this morning and I was pleased to get the win. This afternoon I played nicely again. I have been struggling a little bit with form coming into this event, so it has been nice to actually see some nice shots.
“At the start of the week, in my eyes, the trophy was out there for anyone to win. I’m just coming to an event trying to win like everyone else. If I can keep doing the right things and if that is good enough at the end of the week then great. It’s my first time here and I’m really enjoying it.”
In-form Emily Price, who won the English Women’s Amateur Championship earlier this month and was among the leading stroke play qualifiers, maintained her bid for more glory, beating Hulda Clara Gestsdottir from Iceland 2&1 to reach the last-16.
Denmark’s Amalie Leth-Nissen – who was the leading qualifier on card countback – lost out to her older sister, Cecilie, at the final hole in an emotional contest in the opening tie of the day. It was a notable triumph, given Cecilie is ranked 765th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking compared to Amalie at 47th.
However, Scotland’s Hannah Darling, 17, the Girls’ Under-16 Open Champion in 2018, then ended the hopes of Leth-Nissen in the afternoon with a one-hole victory.
Of the other leading qualifiers from Wednesday, Rosie Belsham lost to Annabel Bailey by one hole and Carolina Melgrati from Italy also exited at the 19th to Wales’ Ffion Tynan.
Italian Alessia Nobilio, the world number five, quietly went about her work to reach the last-16, while two German players, Paula Schulz-Hanssen and Aline Krauter, also progressed. Lily May Humphreys, the highest-ranked English player in the field, now faces Schulz-Hanssen tomorrow.
However, there was disappointment for home club member Hollie Muse and Scotland’s Hazel MacGarvie as they exited at the last-64 stage.
The match play continues Friday with the last-16 and quarter-final ties played, ahead of Saturday’s semi-finals and the 18-hole Final. There are significant rewards for the champion with exemptions into the AIG Women’s Open and traditionally, the US Women’s Open, The Evian Championship and Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.
Full scoring HERE