The two remaining Victorian girls Su-Hyun Oh and Grace Lennon have unfortunately been knocked out of the match play rounds at the Ladies British Amateur in Wales. Oh was able to progress to the round of 32 whilst Lennon was beaten on the final hole in her round of 64 match.
Below is a first hand account of the overnight play from Golf Victoria High Performance Manager, John Anderson.
The first day of the match play would be contested in strong 40-50km winds with some more of the sideways rain which we have grown to love – for the Vic girls these conditions are starting to feel normal. Su had the first tee time at 7:30am against Paula Grant (Ireland) and in the strong winds was able to cruise to a three up lead after 8 holes. This score line was largely due to the fact that she was -3 under (in a hurricane – this score was quite impressive) and didn’t allow her opponent into the match at all. From this moment, Su proceeded around the back nine and won the match 5/4. Very steady play which had her opponent in admiration of the consistent ball striking and just her incredible ability to get the ball in the hole regardless of its location.
Grace Lennon would tee it up two hours (9:30am) later against Manon Gidali (France) who had qualified in fourth place and is one of the best young talents coming out of France at this moment. Grace struggled early with her rhythm in the strong winds. To paint a small picture, Par 5’s which were reachable in two shots during the practice days were now unreachable in three shots for the whole field. However, Su and Grace were aware that this was match play and the opponent was not the course.
Grace was able to hole some great putts on the front nine to stay in touch and was 2-down through 9 which almost felt like a win. The Riversdale Cup champion persisted and managed to keep the ball in play and make some very smart decisions early on the back nine. After 13 holes she had the score back at to all square and was beginning to gain some momentum. On the 14th, Grace found the water off the tee and although lipping out for par she was unfortunately beaten by a solid four by the French woman. Gidali was lucky to halve 16 with a long par save and Grace would need to produce something special. On 17 she conversed with her caddie (Julienne Soo) about which club to hit into the 140metre par 3. A decision was reached and Grace knocked in a little 8 iron to six feet and then rattled in the putt to halve the match.
Lennon would then stand up on 18 tee and as she was setting up over the ball, a gigantic swan would begin to fly across her line of sight. Grace did have time to pull out of the shot and in hindsight she knew that this was the right decision. However, in the moment she was unable to do so and would find the water off the tee. Gidali was able to find the fairway and snatch victory. Bitterly disappointed Grace fought hard all day and really all week considering she was not playing her best golf. A great talent and an absolute pleasure to watch. Lennon will now head on a VIS sponsored trip to the USA for five weeks in July and I am sure she will use the valuable experience she has gained in the major US tournaments and hopefully snag a victory or two.
Su-Hyun Oh had tee’d off at midday against Lisa Maguire (Ireland) unable to find any momentum or rhythm throughout the front nine against the talented Maguire, Su would find herself 5 down through 8. However, we knew that Su would fight. Su picked up a win on nine and 10 to change the momentum but unfortunately nothing would prove helpful including Su’s putter which had been affected by the wintery conditions and went stone cold. Over the next five holes Su would find herself lipping out from 3-8 feet several times. Maguire however was able to hit shots from fairway bunkers and heavy rough which would appear not to be deliberate but often very effective. The Irish luck would prevail and Su would go down 6&4. A tough and big loss for Su but this is the game of match play.
The Ladies British Amateur is the most competitive tournament in Europe and arguably the most prestigious female amateur event in the world. The field containing many of the girls competing for their country whom also represent a number of the top US colleges gives a clear understanding as to what is required to be a top amateur in the world. All of the team can stand proud in the way they approached the week and the challenges that they faced.
Most importantly, Golf Victoria should be very proud at the way that these girls conducted themselves throughout the week and this experience will definitely assist with their own individual long term development.