The R&A - Working for Golf

Italy's Emilie goes six under par to win Girls' title

"This is my biggest ever victory," said Emilie, who will be 15 on October 1. "I won the English Under-14 girls in 2014 and Italian junior titles as well as the US Kids World and European championships but this one tops them all. I feel very excited to have done it." Although Italian girls have reached the final in recent years, Emilie is the first to win the prestigious title since Tullia Calzavarra in the year 2000.

Paltrinieri is No. 299 in the Women's World Rankings and No 10 in her native Italy. In comparison, Isobel Wardle - better known to her friends as "Bel," - is No. 508 in the world and No 20 in the English women's ratings.

But in the stroke-play qualifying at the start of the week in Harlech, it was Wardle who earned the eighth seeding with rounds of 71 and 73 for 144 - five better than Paltrinieri who shot 75 and 74 for 149 to be 39th of the 64 match-play qualifiers.

So what brought about the transformation that saw the Italian girl KO the No 2 seed, Madelene Stavnar (Norway) in the quarter-finals, then the British women's champion Julia Engstrom (Sweden) in the semi-finals before capturing the title with brilliant six-under-par figures?

"We are not used in Italy to playing in winds as strong as we have had here this week. So I gradually became accustomed to that and I knew how to play the links and this course a bit better every day," explained Emilie. "I also worked on the mistakes I made in the stroke-play."

For Isobel Wardle it was a bitter-sweet afternoon ... her best ever golfing achievement to be one of the two players from a field of 144 to reach the British final, but then to run into an opponent, with whom she was all square at the turn, before Paltrinieri covered the next six holes in six under par and won four of them: A winning par at the 10th, birdie 2 at the 11th, eagle 3 at the 12th, half in birdies at the 13th, birdie 2 at the 14th, half in birdies to finish the contest at the 15th. "There was not much I could do against that," said Isobel but I enjoyed the experience."

Both girls are, of course, young enough to play in the British girls' championship for a few more years yet.

Both are keen to go to college in America and Emilie's ultimate dream is to turn professional and play on the LPGA Tour in the States. If she is this good at the age of 14, one wonders what her full potential is. Isobel, too, is a name to remember. Watch this space

RUN OF PLAY DESCRIPTION Isobel Wardle lost the first hole of the final, just about the first time she has trailed in any of her matches She pushed her second at little bit to the right of the green at the testing 422yd first hole and took three more shots to get down. Emilie Paltrinieri, outdriven, gave her second shot, with wood, a tremendous strike to find the heart of the green for a two-putt winning par 4. But Wardle bounced back immediately to win the second with a birdie 3 and the third with a par 5 to go one up. The English player bogeyed the short fourth and Paltrinieri's par 4 squared the match. The remaining holes to the turn were halved in par except for the sixth at which both players achieved birdie3s.
Both players were out in the ladies' par of 37.
Wardle bogeyed the 10th to go one down for the first time since the opening hole.
Then her Italian opened stepped up a gear to cover the next five holes in an incredible six under par.
Paltrinieri birdied the short 11th - 2 up.
She got an eagle 3 at the 12th - 3 up.
The 13th was halved in birdie 4s.
Paltrinieri got another birdie 2 at the short 14th - 4 up.
The 15th was halved in birdie 4s.
And so the Italian 14-year-old won the British U18 girls title in 4 and 3 with six under par figures.

Emilie Paltrinieri
Emilie Paltrinieri


Emilie, who was 39th of the 64 match-play qualifiers, followed up her surprise 5 and 3 quarter-final win over the No. 2 seed, Norway's Madelene Stavnar, by beating the No 3 seed, Julia Engstrom (Sweden), by 4 and 2. Engstrom, at 15, was the youngest ever winner of the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship at Dundonald Links in June.

"I love match-play," said Isobel Wardle after her match in which she was three up after seven and four up after 10. "But I was very, very nervous over the first two holes before I settled. My hands were shaking after I hit the first tee shot," she said "I knew I had to pull myself together if I was not going to let this great chance to reach a British final pass me by. I said to myself 'I really want to win this, so get a grip of yourself,' ... and I did.

"Although I had a good lead for most of the semi-final, I still had to play well to win and I am lucky that my best form of the season has coincided with the British girls' championship.

Wardle won the first hole with a par but was pulled back to square when the young Italian birdied the second. The third was halved in 5s before Wardle got a birdie 2 at the short fourth to go one up again. Isobel doubled that lead with a 4 at the short sixth and she took the long seventh as well with a par 5 to be three up, a lead she maintained to reach in the turn in roughly par 36.

Wardle went four up with a par at the 10th but lost the 12th to a birdie 4 to be three up with six to play. The par-5 13th was halved in birdie 4s and the long 15th also was halved in birdies.

Nobilio won 16th with a par 4 to be only two down but Wardle needed only a half at the 17th, which she got, to win the match 2 and 1 with roughly par or one-under-par figures.

Julia Engstrom did not play to the best of her form but that is not to detract from the performance of her 14 year old conqueror, Emile Paltrinieri who won the first with a par 4 and lead throughout the rest of the match which Engstrom had been favourite to dominate.

Paltrinieri was two up with a birdie 2 at the short ninth and three ahead at the 10th with a birdie 3. The writing was on the wall for Engstrom when she went four down by losing the par-5 12th to yet another birdie from the Italian, whose three birdies in four holes run, had her in command.

But Engstrom was not ready to throw in the towel. She produced back-to-back birdies to win the 13th and 14th to halve her deficit to two holes.

But it was so far but no further for the talented Swede who will have several more years to win the Under-18s title (as will Paltrinieri!).

A bogey at 15th cost Engstrom that hole and made her three down with three to play. The match ended at the next on a concession from Engstrom, giving Paltrinieri a 4 and 2 entry into the final with a three-birdie display and roughly one under par figures.