Kirkistown Castle’s Beth Coulter is looking forward to the match play rounds after coasting through 36-holes of stroke play qualifying in fourth place at The 118th Women’s Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie).
17-year old Coulter fired four birdies in a three-under par 70 to add to her opening 73, racing through to the match play rounds after two satisfying days on the links.
“I knew there was definitely a score there after yesterday coming in, I sort of didn’t finish great,” Coulter said. “Today I didn’t start off great – I missed a short putt on the first, then made a great sand save on six, and that’s what started me off, birdied seven then birdied nine, then it was steady round to the first par three on the back nine, made a good two there then birdied the next as well, par five then finished with two pars which was good.”
Coulter’s play is bearing the fruit of a hard winter’s work where despite nationwide lockdown, she was able to get out and practice to ensure she would be ready for the new season, whenever it may be.
“I was very lucky over lockdown to still be able to play and practice on my home course when everybody else wasn’t so I really tried hard over lockdown, there was lessons and coming into it the courses were all links, and I play on links so that was good to have that before coming in,” she added.
The final of this year’s tournament will also be aired live on YouTube with Coulter content that the skills of the top women amateurs will be there for all to see.
‘’I think its class because I think girls probably struggle showing off type thing, so I think it is class that we’re being put out there, obviously it’s not great with the fans not being able to be here but everybody can see it then online which is class,” she said.
Also through to represent Ireland in the match play rounds is Douglas’ Sara Byrne who added a 75 to her opening 77 to breeze into the knockouts at six-over par. Clandeboye’s Rebekah Gardner and Lisburn’s Paul Grant advanced at eight-over while Hermitage’s Kate Lanigan (+10) and Lahinch’s Aine Donegan (+13) are also in the draw for the last-32.
At the top of qualifying and set to face Donegan in their match play contest is Iceland’s Ragnhildur Kristinsdóttir who recorded the lowest round of the week at Kilmarnock. Kristinsdóttir signed for a seven-under-par 66, eight shots better than her opening round of one-over-par, to top the leaderboard on six-under-par total of 140.
The Icelander, who holds the best stroke average in Eastern Kentucky University history, recorded eight birdies on the 1st, 3rd, 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes and a lone bogey at the par-4 16th.
From a starting field of almost 100 players aged from 13 to 58, the 23-year-old Icelandic talent leads the top 64 players into the match play stage starting tomorrow.
Sitting two shots back is Amy Taylor with rounds of 72 and 70. The Englishwoman, whose second round featured five birdies and two bogeys, drew on her college experience at Texas Tech to handle the windy conditions at Barassie today.
Overnight leader Hannah Darling had a tougher day with a one-over-par 74 but managed to eagle the 11th hole for the second time this week. She safely earns her place in the match play stage, finishing alongside Taylor on four-under-par 142.
Coulter was next on three-under-par 143 with 2019 Women’s Amateur Champion Emily Toy a shot further back. Annabell Fuller finished her two qualifying rounds on one-under-par 145 with Louise Duncan of Scotland the only other player to finish at par or better.
The match play stage gets underway on Wednesday with each tie consisting of one round of 18 holes with the Final on Saturday played over 36 holes. The 36 hole final round will be live broadcast on The R&A’s YouTube and Facebook accounts as well as on randa.org
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.