Ladies British Amateur Stroke Play: Niven is tops

BELFAST, N. Ireland (Aug. In a dream finish for Scottish supporters of the game, Roseanne Niven (Crieff) beat Kylie Walker (Buchanan Castle) at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off for the Ladies' British open amateur championship at Malone Golf Club, near Belfast.Roseanne posted the clubhouse target of level par 288 with a superb final round of four-under-par 68 - the lowest of the championship - and only her compatriot Kylie was able to equal it with a 69, the second best score of the final round.

It was the seventh win by a Scot in the stroke-play tournament which started in 1969.Roseanne, winning a British title for the first time, follows in the footsteps of Belle Robertson (1971-72-85), Jane Connachan (1982), Clare Queen (2004) and Heather MacRae (2005).Niven, a 19-year-old from the Perthshire village of Tibbermore and beaten semi-finalist in the British women's open amateur championship at North Berwick in June, shot five under par for the second 36 holes of the tournament to climb up the leaderboard from joint 19th at the start of the fiinal day.She had a one-under-par 71 in the third round and then signed off with a 68, the lowest score so far in the championship.

In her third round, the University of California-Berkeley student had five birdies and a double bogey 6 at the 14th.In her final circuit, Roseanne, who finished runner-up to Breanne Loucks in her last trip to Ireland for the Irish women's open amateur stroke-play, had two halves of 34.She birdied the long second by sinking a 10ft putt and the short fourth with a 15ft birdie putt. A pitch-and-putt 4 at the long seventh gave her a third birdie of the round, to be followed by birdie No 4 at the eighth as she turned in three-under-34, her best of the three days.A shot dropped at the 14th, where she three-putted, was her second (she bogeyed the fifth) and last bogey of a very good round.

As Crieff Golf Club member Roseanne, a former Scottish girls' match-play champion, had done in the morning round, she birdied both the 16th and 17th, holing a putt of around 6ft at the 16th and pitching and putting at the penultimate hole.Kylie Walker, who will be 22 on August 30, had a hole in one in her morning third round, acing the 15th (132yd) with an eight iron for her first competitive hole in one. She also lost a ball at the seventh, costing her a double bogey 7, in that morning 73 in which she had contrasting halves of 42 and 31,In the fourth round Kylie had seven birdies.

A 10ft putt dropped at the first and she got a two-putt 4 at the long second. But she lost a bit of momentum with bogeys at the fourth and eighth before a birdie from 3ft at the ninth put her off and running again.The Scot holed a 10-footer to birdie the 10th and then holed a 25ft putt for a birdie at the 12th.A bogey at the 13th was followed by a chip-in for a sixth birdie at the 14th. A shot dropped at the 16th would prove costly in the final analysis, even though she wedged to 4ft to set up her final birdie at the 17th.Needing to squeeze an eighth birdie out of the 18th to win the title outright, Walker had to settle for a par and play-off with Roseanne Niven.

Former Curtis Cup player Tara Delaney (Carlow), twice winner of the Irish open stroke-play title shared third place with long-time leader Sahra Hassan (Vale of Glamorgan.Tara finished with two par-matching rounds of 72 for two-over 290. She bvirdied the second, 16th and 17th in her final round. Sahra, joint halfway leader, had gone a shot clear with a 74 for one-over 217, but a closing round of 73 could not hold her closely-grouped challengers at bay and she finished on 290.

ABOUT THE Ladies British Stroke Play

The R&A has retired this event after its final playing in 2017. The event, first played in 1969, is traditionally contested at the end of the summer season. Officials cited a crowded competition calendar as part of the impetus to retire the event.

72 hole stroke play championship that draws an international field.

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