England international Lianna Bailey won her first top amateur title as she claimed a slender one-shot victory at the St Rule Trophy in St Andrews.
The 21-year-old, from Kirby Muxloe Golf Club in Leicestershire, finished on 12-under-par to pip Staffordshire’s Emily Brennan, who was representing Trentham Golf Club, and Scotland’s Hazel MacGarvie.
In claiming victory, she becomes the first English winner of the event since Mel Reid in 2007 and, after posing with the trophy on the Swilcan Bridge, admitted that claiming a landmark amateur title had been a long time coming.
“I’m very happy to finally get over the line and get one under my belt,” she said. “I knew I had the game to do it and I’ve been close so many times, so this feels so nice.
“Now, to put my name next to the likes of Mel Reid, Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew as winners of this event, especially when it’s at the home of golf, is pretty special.”
Bailey was two shots off the lead after the first 36 holes, which was played over the New Course, and knew she had to pull something out of the bag.
She did exactly that, playing the front nine of the Old Course in seven-under-par, which included an eagle at the second hole, before closing out for victory.
The U18 event was won by Caley McGinty from Gloucestershire on five-under-par, with the top six dominated by English players. Bailey’s younger sister, Jessica, was one of those, finishing fifth.