The Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship witnessed a record-breaking finale at Portugal's famous Quinta do Lago resort with rising England stars.
The Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship witnessed a record-breaking finale at Portugal's famous Quinta do Lago resort as rising England stars Ben Schmidt and Mimi Rhodes wrote new marks into the event’s 35-year history.
While Schmidt’s 15-shot triumph barely looked in doubt from the first day of the 54-hole event - junior golf's unofficial major - Rhodes' victory was unclear until the 16th green, as she stood level with her playing partners, Wales’s Darcey Harry and Scotland’s Carmen Griffiths.
But then the 17-year-old from Wedmore, Somerset, finished as no girl had before - birdie, birdie, eagle - to claim the title and add her name to the illustrious list of previous winners.
Suddenly Rhodes was celebrating a four-shot triumph over Harry with Carmen Griffiths another three shots back in third.
The tears fell as Mimi was hugged by her younger sister Patience, who herself finished fifth on Quinta do Lago's North Course. And within minutes, Mimi was on the phone to her grandmother Susan.
“Grandma is suffering from cancer and has been through a bad time, but she was so proud of Patience and I qualifying for these finals,” she said.
“I wanted so much to do it for her. Grandma said she knew I would win, but even she was surprised that I closed my round like that."
Rotherham Golf Club’s Schmidt, also 17 and already the winner of this season's Brabazon Trophy and Carris Trophy, finished ahead of fellow Englishman Max Hopkins and Northern Ireland’s Aaron Marshall in a tie for second 15 shots back.
Schmidt shot 68, 69, 69 for a final score of 10-under-par, a performance made even more impressive as he went through the final 36 holes with only one bogey, despite the windy conditions.
“I did feel very much in control and I can’t tell you what this means to me,” he said. “To win this title at any stage would’ve been a huge honour, but to do so in the year when Justin Rose has first put his name to it and sponsored the championship with his own money makes it extra special,” Schmidt said.
“It’s been a fantastic year for me, with the Brabazon Trophy and Carris Trophy already on the mantlepiece and now this as well. It gives me so much confidence going forwards.”
The Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship, which is supported by the R&A, European Tour Foundation and England Golf, is open to any juniors aged under-18 at midnight on January 1, 2019, with this year's finals being televised by Sky Sports.
For more details on the Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship and for the 2019 final latest scores, go to: telegraph.co.uk/juniorgolf