In-form Grace Crawford wins R&A Girls’ Under-16 Amateur by four shots

Grace Crawford shows off the trophy after winning the R&A Girls Under-16 Amateur Championship at Enville Golf Club in Stourbridge. Picture: Naomi Baker/R&A/R&A via Getty Images.

The 15-year-old’s success at Enville Golf Club in the Midlands came eight days after she became the first Scottish player in 20 years to land the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open at Royal Troon.

Crawford, who is mentored by two-time winning Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew, is the second Scot to win the Girls Under-16 Amateur after Broomieknowe’s Hannah Darling claimed victory in the inaugural edition in 2018 at Fulford.

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After opening with rounds of 73 and 75, Crawford held a two-shot lead heading into the closing circuit and the North Berwick West Links player wasn’t going to be denied.

Brimming with confidence following the biggest win of her young career on the Ayrshire coast the previous weekend, she opened with a birdie-4 before slightly opening the door for the chasing pack by then dropping four shots in the next three holes.

However, Crawford, who has seen her game blossom over the past six months as a member of the Albany Golf Academy in the Bahamas, was back on track when she birdied the par-4 eighth to be out in 38, two-over.

She then birdied the 12th before following a bogey at the par-4 12th with her fourth gain of the round at the 15th.

It was then a case of how many Crawford would win by, not if and, though she bogeyed the par-3 16th, it was job done as the rising star of Scottish women’s golf closed with an eagle-3.

Crawford punched the air several times as her 20-foot putt disappeared before two of her fellow players ran on to the green to give her a celebratory hug.

In signing off with a 72, the Stephen Gallacher Foundation ambassador finished with a four-over-par 220 total to win comfortably from England’s Isla McDonald O’Brien (72) and Pole Kunga Kusmierska (74) as they shared second spot on 224.

“I feel amazing,” said Crawford. “I think this is a really special one for me. I’ve played in this championship since I was 12, so it is really nice to finally get the win in my last year.

“I struggled a bit on the front nine, but I was quite patient – ​​I think that was definitely the key.

“It was an up-and-down round, but I was just enjoying it as this is what we work for. It was fun. Winning last week gave me a lot of confidence coming off of it and I’ve managed to do it again.”

Royal Troon’s Freya Russell finished 20th after signing off with a 75 – her best round of the week.

The championship 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.

In the Welsh Men’s Open Stroke Play at Ashburnham, Glenebervie’s Ross Laird rounded off a solid week by finishing joint-sixth behind home winner Caolan Burford.

Laird signed off with a 74 for a seven-over 295 total, with Jack McDonald (Schloss Roxburghe) finishing two shots behind his compatriot in joint-10th.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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