The R&A - Working for Golf

Stage set for world class action at Dundonald

Dundonald Links staged a clash of the Titans this afternoon - World No 2 Leona Maguire from Ireland against World No 4 Maria Parra from Spain - and it was the 18-year-old Madrid student from Sotogrande who won it, by 3 and 2, to gain a place in Saturday morning's semi-finals of the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship.

Parra has had an impressive run through to the last four, winning her rounds one to three matches by big margins - 7 and 6, 6 and 4, 6 and 5.

Maguire, from the Slieve Russell club, gave the Spaniard her toughest test yet but could not match her opponents approximatey two or three under par figures.

Parra, who plans to turn professional as soon as her studies are completed, birdied the eighth and ninth to lead by three holes at the turn. That became a four-hole advantage when Maguire bogeyed the 12th.

The Irish player, a student at Duke University, North Carolina alongwith her twin sister Lisa, who caddied after missing the cut, responded to the pressure and the fact that she was running out of holes by birdieing the short 15th to cut her deficit to three. But it was too little, too late and a half in 4s at the 16th gave Parra a 3 and 2 victory margin.

If world rankings are an indication, then Saturday afternoon's 18-hole championship final should be between Maria Parra and American Curtis Cup player, Monica Vaughn, 21, from Oregon, the World No 15 and a student at Arizona State University.

Maria Parra
Maria Parra drive 2

Like Leona Maguiire, Vaughn struggled to get into the match-play stages, being the 63rd of 64 qualifiers.

But Monica has raised her game since then. She beat GB and I Curtis Cup player and World No 8 Olivia Mehaffey (Royal Co Down Ladies) in the first round and, despite winning the first hole with a double bogey 6, was roughly two or three under par in winning her quarter-final by 8 and 7 against Sweden's Linn Grant, whose grandmother is Irish and her grandfather a Scot who was a golf club professional.

Vaughn won the first six holes against Grant, piling on the agony for her 17-year-old opponent with birdies at the third, fourth and ninth, to be seven up at the turn. Another birdie at the 10th put the American eight up and she went on to win by 8 and 7.

Semi-finals Julie Engstrom, a 15-year-old from Sweden, who has a world ranking of No 101, and Dewi Weber (Netherlands), world ranked No 45, would not agree with the forecast that it will be a Parra v Vaughn final.

In fact they are so talented that it might well be an Engstrom v Weber summit clash for the British title!

Engstrom will go in against Parra after beating Swedish compatriot Emma Henrikson by one hole with approximate one over par figures. Engstrom was three down after eight but kept cool and played herself into a winning lead by birdieing the ninth, the 12th and the 13th, finally squaring the contest when Henrikson bogeyed the long 14th.

Dewi Weber, the top ranked Dutch player, eliminated Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest) at the 19th in the morning round today and then won her quarter-final by 2 and 1 over Stephanie Astrup (Denmark). All square after 11 holes, Weber went ahead with a par 4 at the 12th but was pulled back to level again when she birdied the par-5 14th only to lose the hole to an eagle 3 by Astrup.

Weber bounced back immediately to win the 16th with a par 4 and when Astrup bogeyed the 17th it was all over - 2 and 1 for Weber who was roughly one over at the finish.