The Junior Open 2012

At Fairhaven Golf Club 123 boy and girl golfers - all Under-16 years - from around the world struggled with the rain and a tough course with punishing bunkers. 

Until, that was, a remarkable last hour of play when conditions were flat, calm and a Japanese girl, Asuka Kashiwabara, returned an astonishing eight-under-par 66.  Gabriella Cowley, 16-year-old from West Essex, showed the class that has won her the English Under-15s and the Scottish Under-16s Open titles with a round of 74 that included five birdies. 

As Fairhaven Golf Club secretary Bob Thompson summed up: "Weeks of rain have made the rough grow to the longest any of us can remember. There's not much run on the wet fairways and if they miss them, then it's at least one shot dropped. Fairhaven is a tough course, make no mistake about that, and we must take into consideration, when we look at the scores, how young the competitors are, and the fact that most of them come from countries where they would have little or not experience of playing golf in conditions like we have at the moment." 

The other 74 at that point came from Japanese boy Fumiaki Saito, bidding to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Kenta Konishi who won this biennial competition at Lundin Golf Club in Fife two years ago. 

But from about 7.30pm to the finish of play about an hour later, all the theories about the course being too tough, etc went out the window. Asuka Kashiwabara, a 16-year-old one-handicapper, returned a bogey-free eight-under-par 66 which included an eagle 3 at the third and six birdies. 

On the boys side, the best score, also returned very late was a two-under-par 72 by Anderson Nunes of Brazil. Chasing him home was Ireland's Marc Boucher with a 73. 

End of round scores can be viewed here.