The R&A - Working for Golf

Three 15-year olds head the Match-Play Qualifiers on 140 (-6)

Paula, who occupied the pole position on her own overnight after an opening round of five-under 68, is the only member of the quartet with aggregates of six-under-par 140 who is not 15 years old. She is 17.

And Paula is the only one who is not Scandinavian. Julia Engstrom, winner of the Ladies' British Open Amateur title in June, and Amanda Linner, whose second-round 67 is the tournament low round, are Swedish. The fourth joint leader is a Norwegian, Madelene Stavnar who improved by four strokes for a 68 today. In a comparison of the second rounds was the tie-breaker to decide in which order they would be seeded. Amanda Linner (73-67) has the honour of being the No. 1 seed.

Madelene Stavnar (72-68) is the No 2 seed.Julia Engstrom (69-71) is the No 3 seed as the World Ranked No 23 bids for a history-making British title double in the same season.And Paula Neira (68-72) is the fourth seed.

Julia Engstrom
Julia Engstrom

If all four girls justify their rating once the match-play schedule gets going tomorrow, the semi-finals on Saturday morning should be Stavnar versus Neira, and Stavnar versus Engstrom.

But, there's many a slip twist cup and lip, and the twists and turns of fortune in match-play golf are legendary.

Engstrom, who has a handicap of +4.7, remains the title favourite on the strength of her world ranking and she proved in the British women's championship at Dundonald Links in June, where she won at the 19th in the final, with thunder rolling and lightning flashing, that she is comfortable with the cut-and-thrust of match-play golf. Julia's second-round 71 (37-34) was a very good score by a youngster who ate something last night that did not agree with her and gave her an upset stomach.

"I'm OK now but I felt terrible last night," said Julia who had the kind of start she did not want .. a bunker visit and a three-putt added up to a double bogey 6 at the first, followed by bogeys at the second and fifth. "I went on to birdie five of the par-5s for the second day in a row and I also holed a 12ft birdie putt for a 2 at the short ninth. Apart from the bad start, I played just about the same game that got me a 69 in the first round so I'm quite happy."

The first hole seems to cause most of the field problems, for whatever reason. It does not look all that difficult - but it is deceptive!

Amanda Linner and Madelene Stavnar both bogeyed it and we have heard how Engstrom had a 6 there. Linner, who has a handicap of +3.1, also bogeyed the sixth but by that time she had collected three birdies - at the long third, short fourth and par-4 fourth.

Amanda raised her total of outward half birdies to five with 4s at the par-5 seventh and eighth. She actually covered her last 12 holes in five under par as she birdied the short 11th and the par-5 12th and 15th - a bag of eight birdies...and it's not the Glorious Twelfth yet!

Madelene Stavnar took longer to get over her opening bogey than Linner did. It was not until the long seventh that she cancelled out the dropped shot. A 2 at the short ninth got her through the turn in one-under 36. Then the Norwegian got into her stride with birdies at the 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th for 32 home.

Paula Neira was not particularly worried that she took four more shots today than she did in her leading 68 on Tuesday. She knows that the "real" tournament does not start until Thursday morning's 32 match-play ties. Paula bogeyed the fourth, 11th and 16th but birdied the fifth, eighth, 12th and 13th in halves of 36. Links courses are always vulnerable when they do not have the protection of a wind and even a classic links like Royal St David's gave up more birdies today when there was little or no wind. There was a little drop of rain during the morning but it came on to stay for the later starters.

Germany's Esther Henseleit had a 68, 10 shots fewer than her first round. This +4 handicap player bogeyed the first but had an eagle 3 at the long 12th and birdies at the second, fifth, short 11th and 16th in halves of 36 and 32. Compatriot Lilly Marie Koester, who plays off +1, was going like a train when she turned in four-under 33 and then birdied the short 14th (her third 2 of the round) and the long 15th. So, six under with three to play, she was heading for a score in the 60s. Sadly she began to unravel with a double bogey 6 at the 16th, following by a quadruple bogey 8 at the 17th and a bogey at the 18th. Her inward half cost her 41 blows as she dropped seven over the last three.

The leading British player was Isobel Wardle (Prestbury) on 144 with scores of 71 and 73. Seven of the eight players on the 152 mark qualified for the match-play. The unlucky one eliminated on a card countback after a comparison of the second rounds of all eight was Spain's Natalia Aseguinolaza.

Team Event / Nations Cup Results: 1st Place - Sweden 281, 2nd Place - Norway 284, 3rd Place - Italy 288