Victories for Helen Briem and Kris Kim in The R&A Girls' and Boy's Amateur Championships
Briem, ranked tenth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings won the 36-hole Final of the 94th Girls’ Amateur Championship by a record 12&10 margin against Spain’s Martina Navarro Navarro.
Kim came out on top at the 38th hole in the closely contested Final of the 96th Boys' Amateur Championship against Alex Papayoanou.
Briem and Kim gain exemptions into Final Qualifying for the AIG Women’s Open and The Open as well as a range of prestigious amateur championships.
The Girls’ Amateur
In the Girls’ Amateur Final, Briem capitalised on a slow start from Navarro Navarro to win the first two holes of the match and she moved to three-up with a birdie four at the 6th.
The 18-year-old German’s only blemish on the front nine came with an untidy double bogey at the par-5 7th to lose the hole but she won three of the next four holes to move to five-up by the 11th.
A birdie three at the 14th extended Briem’s lead to six holes. Navarro Navarro struggled to find a way back into the match and lost the last three holes of the morning round to leave Briem with a commanding nine-up lead.
The 15-year-old Spanish girl had a mountain to climb in the afternoon and it got a little higher when Briem won the 20th to go ten-up. Navarro Navarro did manage to win the 21st when Briem three-putted from the front of the green but she bogeyed the 22nd to fall back again
Briem turned up the pressure with three consecutive birdies from the 24th and when Navarro Navarro’s ten-foot putt slipped by the hole at the 26th it left Briem with a tap in to seal a dominant 12&10 victory.
“It means a lot to me to win. It was my last individual junior tournament so it’s definitely nice to end my junior career like that and I’m really happy. I just played solidly and didn’t make many mistakes so it was good."
Briem gains exemptions into Final Qualifying for the AIG Women’s Open, The R&A Women’s Amateur Championship, the US Girls’ Junior Championship and, by tradition, an invitation to compete at the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship.
The Boys’ Amateur
In the Boys’ Amateur Final, Kris Kim took the early initiative, winning the 2nd with a birdie three, but he slipped up with three bogeys in a row from the 4th and Papayoanou was able to move to two-up by the 6th.
Kim won the 8th but the 18-year-old from Houston produced an excellent eagle three at the 9th to restore his two-hole cushion. The 15-year-old from Walton Heath achieved his second birdie of the round at the 11th to cut the deficit back to one hole but Papayoanou responded with a birdie three at the next to go back to two-up.
Kim’s birdie three at the 14th took him back to one-down and when his opponent was unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the 18th the match was all square going into the afternoon.
Papayoanou won the 19th with a par four but bogeys at the 21st and 22nd proved costly and gave Kim, who won the McGregor Trophy and the Fairhaven Trophy earlier this year, the initiative as he moved to one-up at the 22nd. The match settled into a pattern around the turn with Kim edging ahead and Papayoanou pegging him back.
The American won the 31st with a birdie four to level the match but once again Kim moved ahead with a birdie three to win the 32nd. At the 35th, Papayoanou played a delightful chip from short of the green to secure his par which was enough to level the match when Kim could only three putt from a similar position.
The match finished all square after 36 holes and went to the 38th where the American looked to be in control when he chipped to three feet from the back of the green. Kim left his first putt from the front of the green 12 feet short and his attempt from there slipped past the hole.
Papayoanou missed his putt for the Championship and then missed the return from three feet to leave Kim as the champion.
“It feels amazing to win. After a long day I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was nothing more than two-up I think. It was really tight the whole way through. I think we did well.
“I’m excited for the future. This is just the best you can do as a junior golfer. I’m really happy with it.”
Kim earns exemptions into Final Qualifying for The Open, The Amateur Championship and the US Junior Boys’ Championship.