English duo Roisin Scanlon and Frankie Dezis and Ireland’s Katie Poots share the lead after the opening round of The R&A Girls’ U16 Amateur Championship at Enville.
On a testing day at the Midlands venue, playing longer due to heavy rain yesterday, the trio posted level par rounds of 72 in the leading championship for up-and-coming female golfers.
Poots, a member of the Great Britain and Ireland Junior Vagliano Trophy side earlier this month, impressively birdied three of the last six holes to sign for her even par score.
Woburn member Scanlon finished strongly too after making birdie from the greenside bunker at the 18th to join Poots at the top.
On the Highgate Course at Enville, a challenge at just under 6,000 yards, Dezis perhaps produced the most eye-catching golf of the day after making birdies on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes to make it a three-way tie at the summit late in the day.
“I’m really pleased with my score,” said Dezis, 16, from the Farrington Park club. “The course is set up pretty hard and when the wind picked up as well it did get quite difficult. It’s nice to have this big event for girl golfers at the end of the season.”
Poots made a closing birdie with a nice up and down, as she aims to improve on her previous best of top-ten in the championship.
“After the front nine, which was difficult and playing long, I’m pleased with a good, solid back nine with a few birdies,” said Poots, 16, who plays out of the Knock club in Belfast. “I felt level par would be a good score and tried to make some birdies on the par-5s.
“The course is still in good condition, even after the rain yesterday, and it’s such a good field here so I’ll need to keep playing well.”
Scanlon, 14, was also pleased with her day’s work. “Overall, I felt I played really well,” she added. “It’s a really nice course, not too long, but tricky and you have to plot your way round.
“Being from Woburn, it was very similar, the fact you have to hit straight shots and if you don’t you will be penalised. I hope to finish the season on a high.”
On a tightly contested leaderboard, England’s Ellie Monk shares fourth place on one-over-par after a 73, alongside Spain’s Marina Joyce Moreno.
A further seven players sit on two-over-par, including two other Great Britain and Ireland Junior Vagliano players in Grace Crawford from Scotland and Rosie Bee Kim of England.
The 54-hole stroke play championship, first played at Fulford in 2018, was introduced as part of The R&A’s drive to boost the girls’ game in Great Britain and Ireland and beyond, as well as to provide a pathway to the elite amateur level for leading young players.
Kim, for example, has played in all three stagings of the championship, firstly as a 10-year-old in 2018.
Founded in 1935, Enville is one of the finest examples of heathland golf, with the 72 players competing over another 18 holes on Friday and Saturday.