Starting the day two shots clear, England's Lottie Woad showed her phenomenal talent and composure to win the 2024 Augusta National Women's Amateur

Playing on one of golf's biggest stages, many would argue biggest stage, can send the top male professionals into a tailspin. There has been many an undoing of world class professional golfers on the back nine on Sunday at the Masters.

Over the last five years, as the top women amateur golfers have graced the Augusta National fairways the weekend before the Masters, we've seen similar scenarios unfold, as the players get just one round to tame Augusta and climb to the top of the leaderboard.

The immense pressure on their shoulders can often be too much to bear. I guess that's why when a player can take the pressure, bear it and perform through it with complete composure, that is when you realise you're watching something special.

Lottie Woad started the day two shots clear of the field and expectations were high, probably not least from herself, to win what potentially has become the biggest accolade in women's amateur golf.

A true champion's performance

For me, what was most impressive about the 20-year-old's performance was that she didn't try to do anything clever, it was clinical, well measured and apart from being a little defensive on the par-5 13th, which cost her a three-putt bogey, Woad had a game plan and she stuck to it.

The fact that American Bailey Shoemaker was five holes in front and rapidly climbing up the leaderboard to eventually set the target of seven-under-par, did not seem to phase her.

And if by the end of the round, you hadn't thought you'd witnessed one of the best finishes at Augusta National, then I am not sure what you were watching. The Florida State University sophomore, bounced back from the bogey on 13, to save par on 14 and birdie three of her final four holes (she only narrowly missed her birdie putt on 16), to win the 2024 Augusta National Women's Amateur.

"It means so much. I watched this event when I was younger, so I always wanted to play in it, try and contend and then to win it was just really special.

"I think the turning point for me was I had a great par save on 14, I hooked off the tee and there was no way of me stopping on that green so went long and eventually holed a 10-foot putt to stay two back.

"I knew coming in there were some good hole locations for me to get at and then managed to hole some nice putts at the end."

We're not taking anything away from Woad's win but the round of the day has to go to Shoemaker, who started the day four shots behind Woad and would go on to shoot a bogey free, six-under-par 66, the lowest final round in the tournament history. The 19-year-old looked so comfortable playing Augusta National, knocking approach shots in close and holing putts with ease.

“I didn’t have a set score in my head, but I thought around 3-under would be pretty good. Everybody wants to win, but I was just hoping for a top five or a good finish this week. Once the putts started going in, I thought there might be a chance. So I just kept it rolling.”

"A huge inspiration to players following in her footsteps"

Woad, the 2022 Girls Amateur Champion, hails from Farnham in Surrey and the Surrey Women's Golf County Captain Jane Bathurst, was quick to congratulate her:

"Everyone at Surrey Women’s Golf is immensely proud of Lottie’s extraordinary performance in winning the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Having fallen two shots behind with only five holes to play, she showed incredible tenacity and determination. To finish with three birdies in the last four holes was unbelievable. We are so proud of Lottie and wish her every possible success as her career progresses."

After winning Woad credited her caddy Steve Robinson for helping her enjoy the final round:

"There was a lot of pressure but I was generally having fun. I had a great caddy with me, my England Golf coach, he was kind of helping me stay in the moment and I just enjoyed it."

Woad has been part of the England Golf Talent Pathway for a number of years and Rebecca Hembrough, England Golf Performance Manager (Women's Golf) passed on the performance team's congratulations:

"The performance team is unbelievably proud of Lottie and the clutch way that she won. She's been a part of the England Golf talent pathway for her South regional days and everyone who has supported her has said she is relentlessly committed to being the best she can be.

"We have an incredible National coaching team, with her caddy Steve Robinson as the lead coach, and whilst out in America, she is proactively working with each of them from S&C, to sport psych and putting.

"This win isn't a surprise to us and we couldn't be happier for Lottie, her family and everyone who has had a part in it.

"It's amazing what you can achieve when you're not frightened of hard work and have a hunger to succeed, she's a huge inspiration to the players following in her footsteps."

Like previous winners that have gone before her, there is no doubt that the future looks very bright for Lottie Woad and we're looking forward to coming along for the ride.

View the full Augusta National Women's Amateur leaderboard here.