Amelia Garvey’s amazing run at British Amateur goes down to the wire

Emily Toy (left) and New Zealand’s Amelia Garvey with their trophies after finishing first and second in the Women’s Amateur in Northern Ireland last month. (Photo credit R&A)

Emily Toy (left) and New Zealand’s Amelia Garvey with their trophies after finishing first and second in the Women’s Amateur in Northern Ireland last month. (Photo credit R&A)

New Zealand golfer Amelia Garvey was pipped at the winning post in the Women’s Amateur Championship in Northern Ireland.

Garvey, from Christchurch, was beaten one down by Emily Toy from England in the 18-hole final of the tournament, commonly known as the British Amateur, at the renowned links course of Royal County Down last month.

Victory would have seen her become the first New Zealander to win the tournament since Marnie McGuire triumphed in 1986.

Garvey, 19, had a one up lead after the fifth hole when Toy made bogey. Toy, however, hit back immediately at the next hole with birdie to even the match.

The pair exchanged bogeys before another dropped shot from Toy handed Garvey the lead at the 11th.

Just when it looked like Garvey, who plays golf at the University of Southern California in the United States, might pull clear, she bogeyed the 14th to return the contest to all square.

Toy, attached to Carlyon Bay Golf Club, let a chance slip at the 16th when she three-putted but made no mistake at the 17th from 20 feet for birdie.

A par at the last was good enough for victory as Toy joined a roll of honour that also includes Anna Nordqvist (2008) and Céline Boutier (2015).

Toy became the first English player to win the title since Georgia Hall in 2013.

Her victory also meant she sealed a spot in the Women’s British Open at Woburn in August along with exemptions into the professional events of the Evian Championship in France and next year’s US Women’s Open and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.

“It’s amazing to win,” Toy said.

“I played really solidly all week. I stayed in the moment in the final and handled my nerves.

“I really struggled this morning (in the semi-finals) off the tee but I found the fairways this afternoon, which gave me the chances. My putting was also really solid from long distance.”

Garvey said the runner-up placing was the highlight of golfing career to date.

“I gave it everything. I left it all out there, which is all I can ask for,’’ Garvey said.

“I’m really proud of the way I played. It’s been an amazing week.

“Emily played incredibly well, especially down the stretch. She slipped up once on 16 with a three putt but apart from that she didn’t miss many fairways or make many mistakes.

“I really wanted to win but playing in front of all those people and just getting to the final was a great thrill. This is my best achievement in golf so far and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

Garvey received the Diana Fishwick Cup as runner-up.

It was the 116th staging of the tournament and it was the ninth time it had been held at Royal County Down — exactly 120 years after its first staging.

An international team award was presented after the strokeplay qualifying rounds, with Italy taking the honours with an aggregate score of 296.

A 144-player international field made up of competitors from 26 countries assembled at Royal County Down for two rounds of 18-hole strokeplay qualifying before the lowest 64 scores progressed to the matchplay stage.

The 117th Women’s Amateur Championship will be played at Kilmarnock (Barassie) in Scotland from June 23-27 next year.

Garvey’s results at Women’s Amateur

Christchurch golfer Amelia Garvey’s results at the Women’s Amateur Championship in Northern Ireland last month were:

Strokeplay qualifying: Finished fourth of 144 players with rounds of 72 and 72 (par 73).

Round one: Defeated Patricia Garre Munoz (Spain) 3 and 2.

Round two: Defeated Maria Harraez Galvez (Spain) 3 and 1.

Round three: Defeated Puk Lynn Thomsen (Denmark) 2 and 1.

Quarter finals: Defeated Kiir Riihijarvi (Finland) 3 and 2.

Semi-finals: Defeated Daniella Barrett (Finland) 3 and 1.

Final: Lost to Emily Toy (England) one down.