The 18-year-old from Cheshire came from five shots back on the final day
BEL Wardle came from five shots off the lead to win the Portuguese Women’s Amateur Championship in a play-off.
The 18-year-old international, who plays out of Prestbury Golf Club in Cheshire, caught and then beat fellow England player Annabell Fuller on the first play-off hole – the 18th – on the difficult West Cliffs course.
“It’s amazing to win,” said Wardle, who was playing in her first competitive event of the year and adds this title to the English Women’s and English Girls’ Open Championships of 2017.
Fuller, 15, took a three-shot lead into the final round and Wardle was five behind her – but knew anything could happen.
“This golf course throws everything at you, it is so tough,” she added. “If you spray the ball left or right you are struggling to make a bogey.
“I had no idea what anyone else was scoring but I just tried to keep myself as low as possible. Holes 16, 17 and 18 are really tough and I knew if I could hang in with some sort of score it would make those holes even tougher with the pressure.”
In the final round, in which strong winds added to the challenge of the course, Wardle posted five-over-par 77 and declared herself happy after battling back from a five-over-par front nine, coming home in level par.
It put her in the play-off after Fuller, from Roehampton, tangled with a bush and double-bogeyed the 18th in regulation play.
“I was very, very nervous because I’d never been in a play-off,” said Wardle. “But I had my friend Jess Hall on the bag. She was calming me down and we went through the strategy I had in place and just played the hole.”
The championship was a great showcase for English talent, with England also winning the Nations Cup by ten shots. Annabell Fuller, Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe) and Lily May Humphreys (Stoke by Nayland) combined to win the team prize. Lamb achieved her first hole-in-one during the championship and finished eighth overall.
Photo ©Filipe Guerra