Sophie seals her second national title after seeing off home hopeful Emily
Dorset’s Sophie Keech staged a grandstand finish to win the English Women’s Open Matchplay Championship at Trentham in Staffordshire and, in doing so, claim her second national title.
The 19-year-old birdied the last to defeat the host club’s Emily Coleman to add another English title to her name following her superb victory in the 2013 English Girls’ Championship.
In a nip and tuck final, Keech reached the turn two-up but immediately handed back her advantage, losing the tenth to a par after getting into trouble and the 11th to an excellent birdie by Coleman.
The players halved the next six holes, with Keech sinking good putts on the 13th and 16th to keep the scoreline all square. Her putter was again reliable on the 17th where she two-putted safely from about 45 feet for another half.
She hit the 18th in two, after drilling a 6-iron 220-yards with her approach to the green, but left herself with plenty of work to do with her ball coming to rest 35 feet from the hole.
“It was horrible,” she recalled. “I had to aim about ten feet right of the hole and bring it round. I left it about four feet short, with a bit of swing, but my holing out has been good this week and I felt confident.”
She duly converted her short birdie putt to take the title.
“It’s a special feeling,” she added.
Keech spent much of the week preceding the tournament with Dorset at their County Match Week, which, she says, was a good warm-up for the matchplay. It was also her first outright win of the season, after she had shared the Astor Salver with Dulcie Sverdloff of Essex. She added: “It’s nice to have something for myself.”
Coleman, meanwhile, was determined to take the positives from the experience of the week.
“We had such a good fight, such a good tussle and I’ve had a fantastic few days, it’s been brilliant and I’ve loved every minute of it,” she said. “I am disappointed, but what can you do? I lost to a birdie and I did my best. I couldn’t give it any more.”
In the semi-finals earlier in the day, Coleman saw off Lianna Bailey of Kirby Muxloe two-up, whilst Keech ended the interest of her Astor Salver co-winner Sverdloff 2&1.