Girls' Amateur

James upsets top-ranked Swede at Girls’ Amateur

The R&A
10 Aug 22
3 mins

Wales’ Emily James defeated the leading player in the field to progress to the last-32 of the Girls’ Amateur Championship at Carnoustie.

On a glorious day over the famous links, James shone in the opening round of match play action to secure a 4&3 win over Meja Ortengren, placed 22nd on the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®). It’s a notable week in Angus with the match play stages of the Girls’ and Boys’ Amateur Championship being played simultaneously at one venue for the first time.  The girls' knock-out ties began today, with the top-64 qualifiers in the Boys’ Amateur field playing a practice day ahead of their match play commencing tomorrow.

James delight

James, 17, certainly took her opportunity to oust Ortengren, who upset the professionals on the Ladies European Tour Access Series back in May when she won the PGA Championship Trelleborg. James, who plays out of Royal Lytham & St Annes and recently reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Women’s Amateur, lost the opening hole before surging to victory. “I knew that I was going to have to play well and Meja birdied the 1st,” said James. “But I played really well from there on. I’m really pleased with the way that I played, I went bogey free so that’s nice. This is my first time playing here. It’s a great course, tough, but really nice. “I’ve played alright this season but I’ve not really had the finishes that I’ve wanted so I’m glad that I’m finally starting to come into a bit of form for this week. I played in last year’s Girls’ Amateur at Fulford. I got through to the match play stage but was knocked out in the first round.”

In-form Martin Sampedro 

The leading stroke play qualifier, Paula Martin Sampedro from Spain, impressed too in becoming the first player into the last-32. The reigning Spanish Amateur Champion, 16, triumphed 5&3 against Canada’s Elise Liu. Martin Sampedro said, “I’m very happy with my game today as well. The wind was blowing much less than the couple of days before and the course is in great condition. Overall, I’m very happy with my game. “The starter told us the weather here in Scotland doesn’t get much better. I’m really grateful for this weather and this course. “I won the Spanish Amateur Championship in June, just a couple of months ago, so my game is feeling really good. Obviously, that week is in my head and I keep thinking about how my game was feeling there so I can keep going that way.”
The leading stroke play qualifier, Paula Martin Sampedro, was the first player into the last-32. The reigning Spanish Amateur Champion, 16, triumphed 5&3 against Canada’s Elise Liu.

More Spain success

Although the Championship is Julia Sanchez Morales’ first experience of links golf, the Spaniard also excelled. The 16-year-old overcame the challenges of Carnoustie to beat Francesca Fiorellini of Italy, the second highest ranked player in the field, by one hole. The 17th proved key as Sanchez Morales managed to half the hole despite finding the Barry Burn with her tee shot. “It was about mostly trying to focus on my game and hitting as many fairways and greens as possible because Francesca’s a great player and she was always just there trying to get the pars in,” said Sanchez Morales. “It was really tough and she was a tough opponent. “It is my first time playing links and at the start of this week I wasn’t really good with the course. But today was really much better because I have learnt more about the links.”

Woad one to watch

While there was home disappointment as Scotland’s Grace Crawford, the R&A Girls’ U16 Champion, bowed out 4&3 to Adeliina Virtanen from Finland, Lottie Woad, Maggie Whitehead and Amelia Wan were among the English players to progress. Woad, who finished second in stroke play qualifying, came through by two holes against Cloe Amion Villarino from Spain. Woad said, “It was definitely playing a lot easier and shorter today. I had a lot more wedges into greens. I had to adjust a few of my shots off the tee but it was definitely easier on some holes than yesterday in the afternoon wind. “I was two down through eight and then I got a few birdies, got to one up and then back to all square. I went one up on 17, thought that might do it, and then managed to birdie the last. It was quite tight, quite a stressful match.” With 22 countries initially represented this week in the Girls’ Amateur, Sofie Bindner Engeseth from Norway also eased into the last-32 with a 3&1 win over the USA’s Sophie Anand.

Live stream

Previous winners of the Girls’ Amateur include major champions Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist and, more recently, Pia Babnik, already a two-time winner on the Ladies’ European Tour. The Girls' and Boys' Amateur championships are supported by EventScotland. For the first time, the 36-hole finals of both championships on Sunday will be live streamed at Carnoustie and can be watched on The R&A’s website at as well as on The R&A YouTube channel.