Excitement is building for the second staging of the R&A Girls U16 Amateur Championship, which tees off at Fulford Golf Club tomorrow morning.
A starting field of 90 golfers, aged from 11 to 16 years old, are in action with 12 countries represented.
The 54-hole championship is a World Amateur Golf Ranking™ counting event for the first time, providing an extra incentive for the competitors.
Ahead of England’s Kate Bibby striking the opening tee shot at 8am tomorrow, here are four players to watch at the renowned York venue.
Beth Coulter, Ireland
Coulter looked set for a wire-to-wire victory last year, leading by a stroke with the par-5 18th to play, only to go out of bounds after her second shot hit a tree.
The 15-year-old from Kirkistown Castle remains in form after recent wins at the Munster Women’s and the Portrush Scratch Cup.
Beth said, “I’m keen to go one better this week. It’s exciting to come back. The course is playing a bit firmer this year and there is definitely a low score out there.
“I’ve put last year behind me, even seeing the funny side of it now. Walking down the 18th today, I was talking about trying to recreate the shot! I’ll definitely be a bit more cautious this year.
“My form has been pretty solid, doing a lot of practice and more course management this year. I’m definitely confident but just need to make good decisions out there.”
Alexandra Bonfield, England
Bonfield, 14, is one of two Fulford members in the field, alongside Poppy Rudd.
Having missed the cut for entries last year, Alexandra came along to spectate while her dad volunteered at the event. The 14-year-old, a Fulford member for five years, now can’t wait to tee up.
The 6.7 handicapper said, “I was so happy to make the cut for entries this year, as it was in the balance. It was so nerve wracking! It’s now great to be able to give something back to this amazing club, who have supported me so much.
“It’s a real honour to be able to play against all these girls, even to set foot on the same course as them is amazing. It’s such an honour for the event to come to my club too. It’s the most exciting four days of my life.
“I would like to finish in the top 60, that would be a good achievement. The whole field is quite closely bunched in terms of handicap, but with a little local knowledge I think I can move up a few places.”
Ffion Tynan, Wales
Tynan, 16, shared fourth place last year after a double bogey on the 15th in the final round ended her hopes.
The Minchinhampton member, part of the Great Britain and Ireland side which played against the Continent of Europe in the Junior Vagliano Trophy in 2017, tested her skills against more senior players in a French Under-21 event last week.
Ffion said, “I had a run at winning last year until the double bogey, but I’m back again to have another go. The course is in great condition, the greens are lovely and I’m quite excited this week.
“There are a lot of good players here, so I’ll try and manage the course well and play my own game. It’s nice to come back to the same course and recognise some old faces. There are a lot of Welsh girls here, young ones coming up too, which is nice to see.
“It’s my last year of Under-16 events, so I’m trying to play quite a few of them. I’ve also been playing women’s tournaments to compare myself to them. I just need to give myself as many chances as I can this week.”
Charlotte Cattaneo, Italy
One of three Italian players in the field, Cattaneo was runner-up in the Under-14 section last year.
Charlotte, 15, said, “It’s nice to be back here, the course is awesome and the organisation of the event is great. It’s run like a professional tournament.
“Since the beginning of the season I haven’t played well, but I’ll try my best here this week. I finished tied sixth in the Under-16s last year, so I’ll just try and do as well as I can.”
Entry is free for spectators at Fulford over all three days of play.
View the draw here