PORTRUSH, COUNTY ANTRIM, Ireland (June 11, 2011) -- Lauren Taylor, 16-year-old Woburn GC junior member, became one of the youngest ever winners of the Ladies British open amateur championship when she beat 17-year-old Alexandra Bonetti from France by 6 and 5 in the 18-hole final over the sunny Royal Portrush links in Northern Ireland today.
It capped an astonishing week for Rugby-based Lauren, an England girl international, who surprised even herself – and her caddie-dad Martin – by playing brilliantly all week and then producing an outstanding performance in the final to take the measure of Bonetti who won the British girls open championship on her last visit to Northern Ireland – at Royal Belfast last August.
Taylor produced six birdies in beating her French opponent, having come up with four birdies to get through at the 20th in the morning semi-final against defending champion Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale).“I told my dad that we were both going to relax this week because I usually try too hard in the big championships and let myself down. I play my best golf when I am stress free and dad was more laid back than he has ever been as my caddie,” said Lauren.
“That helped me a lot. I was nervous a lot of times, especially in the closing stages against Kelly, but I tried not to let it affect my game. Yes, I didn’t think I could play so well day after day like that. Nobody was more surprised than me,” said Lauren whose earlier “victims” in arguably the strongest field ever to contest the Ladies Golf Union’s amateur flagship event included the World No 2 from New Zealand, Cecilia Cho.
Baylor University, Texas must have a good talent scout – they signed her up to enrol there in August 2012, and they did it BEFORE this week of weeks for the youngster. Lauren started the final in the same way she had ended her semi-final – with a birdie.
The youngster from Rugby confidently rolled home a 5ft putt from beyond the flag to win the first hole with a birdie 3.
Bonetti drove into a bunker at the second and took three shots to get clear the steep front wall of the trap. She ended up conceding the hole – two up after two for Taylor.
The third hole was halved in par 3s and then Bonetti’s troubles continued. She lost a ball at the fourth to go three down.Bonetti bogeyed the fifth to lose that one too and a birdie 2 at the short sixth put the English girl five up.
The seventh was halved in birdie 4s, the eighth in par 4s and the ninth in birdie 4s, leaving Taylor five up at the turn. Lauren’s lead became six holes when she birdied the long 10th but she lost a hole for the first time in the match when she bogeyed the 11th to go back to five up.
Taylor got up and down in 2 with an exquisite pitch close to the cup from an awkward lie through the back of the 12th to salvage a half in 4s as she edged that bit closer to a memorable triumph.
Taylor ended the final in style by chipping into the hole from off the green for a birdie 3 – her sixth of the round – to win the British title by 6 and 5.Taylor now gains full exemption into the 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open played over the challenging Carnoustie Links next month.