Italy’s Francesca Fiorellini secured a notable double on English soil after securing a wire-to-wire victory in the R&A Girls U16 Amateur Championship at Fulford.
Eight months after winning the English U14 Girls Open Championship, Fiorellini eased to another title after a comfortable three-shot victory over an international field in York.
The 13-year-old, who plays out of the Olgiata Club in Rome, was a model of consistency in the final round as she closed with a three-under-par 72 to lift The Angela Uzielli Trophy on a winning total of six-under-par 219.
After Hannah Darling won last year’s inaugural event at the venue, Carmen Griffiths made a strong final day move in pursuit of more Scottish success, posting a superb bogey-free round of 70 to secure the runner-up spot on a three-under-par total of 222.
Julia Lopez from Spain edged out England’s Eve Neild to secure third place on one-over-par.
“I’m very happy to win and lead from start to finish,” said Fiorellini. “I played really well and I’m excited to win. The weather was really good with the sun and no wind – it was like Italy! I didn’t expect to win when I arrived but I’ve done it.
“I drove the ball really well today, not like I did over the first two days. After winning in England before, it is a special place for me. It will now be really special to come here as defending champion as it’s a great tournament. I can’t wait to come back next year.”
On a pleasant day for scoring in Yorkshire, it was Maggie Whitehead who appeared to be Fiorellini’s closest challenger over the final 18 holes. The 12-year-old cut Fiorellini’s two-shot overnight lead in half with a birdie at the 1st and the gap between the pair was still only one stroke after six holes.
However, a run of bogeys ended the hopes of the Close House member and she shared fifth place with five others, including Welsh trio Ffion Tynan, Darcey Harry and Gracie Mayo, as well as England’s Libby Bell and another Italian player, Matilde Innocenti Angelini, on two-over-par for the championship.
Fiorellini picked up birdies at the 4th, 7th and 13th holes and was rarely in trouble as she kept her challengers at bay. Aboyne’s Griffiths, 15, moved to within three shots of the lead with a birdie at the 13th and put more pressure on the Italian with her fifth birdie on the final hole but Fiorellini closed with five steady pars to claim victory.
“It feels amazing to finish second and it ranks as one of my top achievements,” said Griffiths. “I set out to go low today. I was hoping to get the win but it’s nice to finish second.
“The wind dropped over the last nine holes and the sun was out as well so the conditions were great. I made five birdies and no bogeys which was nice as it is my first-ever bogey free round. I’ve started the season well and I hope to get some picks for teams this year.”
To complete an impressive week, Fiorellini also won the Under-14 section by eight strokes ahead of Whitehead, while England’s Rosie Bee Kim secured the Under-12 honours.
Building on the success of last year’s championship, a field of 90 golfers representing 12 countries competed at Fulford. The 54-hole stroke play championship provides a pathway to the elite amateur level for leading young players and is a World Amateur Golf Ranking™ counting event.
Fulford will host the R&A Girls Under 16 Amateur Championship for a third time in 2020.
View final round scores here