- Defending champion Julia Engstrom loses in first round
- Leona Maguire safely through to round three
- Maguire joined by Irish compatriots Olivia Mehaffey and Paula Grant in third round
Julia Engstrom’s defence of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship ended in defeat by Alice Hewson during the first stage of match play at Pyle & Kenfig today.
The Swedish youngster, who became the youngest ever winner of the championship aged 15 last year, was defeated by the England international on the first extra hole of a compelling contest in this morning’s first round.
Hewson found herself in a sudden death situation once again during her second round match-up against Anna Backman but came up short after losing on the first extra hole to the Finn.
Last year’s runner-up Dewi Weber also made an early exit from the championship after succumbing to a one hole loss against Marta Perez Sanmartin.
Maguire in good form
Leona Maguire, who currently leads the women’s WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING™, produced two strong performances to ease into tomorrow’s third round.
The Irish Olympian, who recently won the Annika Award for the second time, beat Elena Hualde Zuniga 5&4 in the first round before moving up the gears to record an emphatic 7&6 win over Paula Neira Garcia to reach the next round.
“I played really nice golf this morning, made some good birdies and carried it on into this afternoon’s round”, said Maguire.
“I hit a lot of fairways and greens to give myself a lot of chances. Once you get into match play you can be a bit more aggressive and go after a few more pins.
“I’ll take each match as it comes. There’s a really strong field out here. I had a good performance today and we’ll take it from there once tomorrow’s round starts.”
Ireland well represented
Maguire’s compatriots Olivia Mehaffey and Paula Grant also paved a comfortable path to the third round of match play after producing excellent golf in windy conditions on the South Wales coast.
Mehaffey, who plays collegiate golf in the United States for Arizona State University, defeated Scotland’s Chloe Goadby 4&3, which was followed by a 5&4 win over her fellow countrywoman Mairead Martin.
“I had two really good wins and I played really solid out there today”, said Mehaffey.
“The conditions got really tough this afternoon but I hit some really good shots to the fairways and greens. I grew up playing a lot of links golf so it’s nice to get back to my roots and play links golf again.
“With match play anything can happen. It’s links golf and you don’t know what the weather can throw at you. It’s anyone’s game really.”
Grant, who led the qualifiers after two rounds of stroke play, continued her fine form this morning with a solid 4&2 victory against Denmark’s Cecilie Finne-Ipsen. England’s Rochelle Morris also lost out to the 2013 Irish Women’s Close Champion as she secured her place in the third round following a 4&3 win.
“I was two down through six holes in the morning’s match but I made a good comeback against Cecilie”, said Grant.
“I played really solid golf in the afternoon and made a lot more birdies. Overall, a pretty good day.
“The conditions were tough and the wind was going in the opposite direction to yesterday. You have to keep plugging away, keep hitting the fairways and hopefully hole some putts.
“I think I can do well here but I’ll take it one step at a time, one match at a time and see how things go. It’s nice to finish early and rest before tomorrow."
Also progressing to the third round are Beatrice Wallin, Marthe Wold, Alessandra Fanali, Sara Kouskova and Leonie Harm after good wins this afternoon.
The Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship is being contested by 144 competitors from 24 countries, including 33 players ranked in the Top 100 of the WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING™ (WAGR™).
The first stage of the championship comprises two qualifying rounds of stroke play before the leading 64 players progress to the match play stage. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes.