Annabel Wilson (Lurgan GC) denied Paula Grant (Lisburn GC) a third Irish Women’s Close Championship title on Sunday, fighting back from two down with two to play to win on the first extra tie hole.
The 18-year-old had spent the last three months concentrating on her A-Levels exams but her competitive fire was undiminished at Woodbrook GC.
“It hasn’t hit me. I think it will on the drive home - I am delighted, it’s been a marathon this week. I’m knackered but I’m buzzing,” said Annabel who will take up a US golf scholarship at UCLA in September.
“I learned from the first day, I could see some rusty patches in my short game, which wasn’t sharp, but I’m fortunate enough my long game is up there.
“I’m always hitting 14 or 15 greens so that kind of saves me but there’s some days like today when your timing is off but that’s the way it is, that’s golf and that’s why we love it!”
For Grant, who had beaten Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) on the 18th in the morning semi-finals, it was disappointment at the final hurdle. Her tee shot on 17 found a bunker and her drive on the 19th got stuck behind one of Woodbrook’s pine trees – ultimately costing her the match.
“Honestly I was just playing golf, I had no nerves at all really. Paula sort of handed me one on 17, we both made sloppy errors there,” added Annabel.
“On eighteen I hit a lovely approach in and then on the tie hole I just needed two rhythmic swings and that’s what I did.”
Jessica Ross (Clandeboye) was the other beaten semi-finalist but returns to Belfast with the Leitrim Cup as leading qualifier. Emma Fleming (Elm Park) won the Ita Wallace Plate while Wilson also claimed the Sybill Meharg trophy for best U18 in stroke play qualifying.
Meanwhile, Mallow’s James Sugue won the Amateur Championship at Portmarnock on Sunday beating Scotland’s Euan Walker by one hole.