Gardner and Costello progress to last-32 round at Girls’ Amateur Championship

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Olivia Costello (Photo by Jan Kruger/R&A via Getty Images)

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Ireland’s Olivia Costello (Roscommon) and Rebekah Gardner (Clandeboye) have progressed to the last 32 round of knock-out stages of the Girls’ Amateur Championship at Carnoustie.

Costello defeated England’s Frankie Dezis 3&2 and will now play Sweden’s Sofie Bindner Engeseth in the next round with Gardner also winning on the same score against another English player, Ellen Yates and she will face Paula Francisco of Spain who overcame Molly O’Hara on the 20th in the last-64 round.

Wales’ Emily James defeated the leading player in the field to also progress to the last-32 on a glorious day over the famous links. James shone in the opening round of match play action to secure a 4&3 win over Meja Ortengren, placed 22nd on the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®).

It’s a notable week in Angus with the match play stages of the Girls’ and Boys’ Amateur Championship being played simultaneously at one venue for the first time.

The girls began their last-64 knock-out ties on Wednesday, with the qualifiers in the Boys’ Amateur field playing a practice round ahead of their match play stage commencing on Thursday which will see Malahide’s Gavin O’Neill take on Louis Anceaux of France while Charlie Kelly (Roganstown) is up against Sweden’s Albert Hansson and Matthew Giles (Greenore) faces Morgan Blythe of England.  Meanwhile Ballyneety’s Morgan O’Sullivan has been drawn to play Eugenio Bernardi of Italy.

For her part Emily James, 17, certainly took her opportunity to oust Ortengren, who upset the professionals on the Ladies European Tour Access Series back in May when she won the PGA Championship Trelleborg. James, who plays out of Royal Lytham & St Annes and recently reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Women’s Amateur, lost the opening hole before surging to victory.

“I knew that I was going to have to play well and Meja birdied the 1st. But I played really well from there on. I’m really pleased with the way that I played, I went bogey free so that’s nice. This is my first time playing here. It’s a great course, tough, but really nice,” said James.

“I’ve played alright this season but I’ve not really had the finishes that I’ve wanted so I’m glad that I’m finally starting to come into a bit of form for this week.

“I played in last year’s Girls’ Amateur at Fulford. I got through to the match play stage but was knocked out in the first round,” she added.

The leading stroke play qualifier, Paula Martin Sampedro from Spain, impressed too in becoming the first player into the last-32. The reigning Spanish Amateur Champion, 16, triumphed 5&3 against Canada’s Elise Liu.

Although the Championship is Julia Sanchez Morales’ first experience of links golf, the Spaniard also excelled. The 16-year-old overcame the challenges of Carnoustie to beat Francesca Fiorellini of Italy, the second highest-ranked player in the field, by one hole. The 17th proved key as Sanchez Morales managed to half the hole despite finding the Barry Burn with her tee shot.

While there was home disappointment as Scotland’s Grace Crawford, the R&A Girls’ U16 Champion, bowed out 4&3 to Adeliina Virtanen from Finland, Lottie Woad, Maggie Whitehead and Amelia Wan were among the English players to progress. Woad, who finished second in stroke play qualifying, came through by two holes against Cloe Amion Villarino from Spain.

With 22 countries represented in the initial Girls’ Amateur field this week, Sofie Bindner Engeseth from Norway also eased into the last-32 with a 3&1 win over the USA’s Sophie Anand.

Previous winners of the Girls’ Amateur include major champions Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist and, more recently, Pia Babnik, already a two-time winner on the Ladies’ European Tour.

For the first time, the 36-hole finals of both championships on Sunday will be live streamed at Carnoustie and can be watched on The R&A’s website at as well as on The R&A YouTube channel.

The Girls’ and Boys’ Amateur championships are supported by EventScotland.

The match play draws and scoring are also available at

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