Leonie Harm

 

Leonie Harm made history at Hillside golf club this weekend as she became the first German to lift the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship trophy.

Harm defeated American Stephanie Lau 3&2 to win the 18-hole final in a sunny Southport on Saturday 30th June, and in doing so also reserved a spot in the starting field of the RICOH Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in August. The 20-year-old from Stuttgart will also gain exemptions into the 2018 Evian Championship, next year’s US Women’s Open, and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019.

On playing in the RICOH Women’s British Open, Harm commented,

"It’s a cool opportunity, I’m really excited!"

The German amateur, who is ranked 33rd in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, arrived late at the championship and previously admitted that she felt underprepared for the week, but as the tournament progressed, those concerns became more and more unfounded. In the match play rounds, Harm defeated Canada’s Jaclyn Lee 4&3 in her morning semi-final tie to progress to the afternoon’s final.

In the other semi-final, Lau saw off home favourite Holly Muse by 5&4 to secure her own place in the final.

Harm, who won the German International Amateur earlier this month, was never behind in the match as she kept her cool to play a steady round of golf, which gave her the edge on Lau. The German was handed the lead when her opponent bogeyed the third and her lead was extended at the 4th when Lau missed another putt for par.

Harm’s initial advantage was short-lived after Lau bounced back to produce back-to-back birdies at the 5th and 6th holes. Playing steady par golf, Harm regained her 2-hole lead at the halfway point with Lau chalking up further bogeys at the 7th and 9th. The 21-year-old found herself in the lead heading into the back nine without yet making a birdie.

That was to change as the clinical Harm went 3up at the 10th. The pair both birdied the next as Lau struggled to find a weakness in the German’s game. The trophy was in clear sight and, despite dropping a hole at the par-4 15th, the win was never in doubt as the 20-year-old University of Houston student rolled in a five foot putt for par at the 16th to pounce on another Lau bogey and win the match 3&2.

"I’m thrilled to be the champion," Leonie Harm.

"I’m actually really proud of myself so it’s okay, particularly the fact that I rolled in some good birdie putts to fight back," commented Stephanie Lau.

"I’ve really enjoyed playing links golf, I know this isn’t normal weather for England, but I’ve loved it and learned a lot."

The Pam Barton Memorial Salver is awarded to the winner of the Championship, while the runner-up receives The Diana Fishwick Cup. An international team award is presented after the stroke play qualifying rounds, which was also won by Germany with an aggregate score of 290.

144 elite women’s amateur golfers from 24 countries across Europe, Asia-Pacific arrived at the Southport course on Monday to take part in the first stage of the Championship which saw each player compete in two rounds of 18-hole stroke play. The 64 lowest scores over the 36 progressed to the match play stage.

The 116th Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship will be played at Royal County Down from 11-15 June 2019.

Image credit: The R&A 

 

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