Bel Wardle consolidated her reputation as one of England’s finest emerging talents as she dominates the field at the English Women’s County Champion of Champions event at Woodhall Spa.
The 2017 English Women’s Open Stroke Play champion from Cheshire carded rounds of 72 and 71 which was enough to give her an eight-shot victory on three under par 143.
But, it was no easy trip for the youngster on a challenging course. She explained: “I felt confident coming into the event. I knew that if I played well I would have a great chance of winning. I tried to stay positive during the two rounds. Woodhall Spa Golf Club is a course where you are going to make mistakes but it’s how you bounce back. I stayed patient and knew that there are birdie chances out there. My iron play was also very good, I set up makeable birdie chances that I took advantage of. If I got in trouble, I limited the damage and took my medicine. This kept double bogeys off the card.”
Wardle’s nearest challengers were Surrey champion Lottie Woad and Bethany Garton from Lancashire. Woad represented England while finishing sixth at this year’s European Young Masters in the Czech Republic and she maintained her fine recent run of form by recovering from an opening 78 to post a 73 and finish on five-over par 151. Garton from Royal Lytham and St Annes carded rounds of 76 and 75 to complete the tournament on the same total.
Suffolk champion Alice Barlow carded rounds of 77 and 75 to finish fourth on 152 while Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon’s Emily Slater and Melissa McMahon from Dorset shared fifth place one shot further behind.
Although Wardle felt pressure from the field, she was always able to stay in control and ahead to secure the tournament victory. She said: “Obviously there is always going to be pressure when you have the lead. But I just tried to concentrate on my game and try to get under par. I knew that if I shot under par again I would have a great chance of winning.
“I was really happy to get the win! This year I’ve had many top 10 finishes in events but not a win. So very pleased to finally come through to win."
"I’m very proud to have represented Cheshire at the event and even happier to bring the trophy back!”
After emerging victorious, Wardle is now looking forward to a winter of development ahead of the Curtis Cup: “My next target is to make it into the Curtis Cup team next year – the season is coming to an end now so the winter work begins.”
Photo: Credit Leaderboard Photography