CORNWALL’S Emily Toy maintained her bid to successfully defend the Women’s Amateur Championship after reaching Friday’s last-16 at West Lancashire GC.
The 22-year-old, who claimed victory at Royal County Down last year, is aiming to become the first player since Sweden’s Louise Stahle to retain the championship, back in 2005.
Having progressed on the cut mark during qualifying, Toy found her form in the matchplay stages to continue her quest for a historic success at the spectacular North-West links.
In the championship’s 117th staging, Toy saw off the challenge of Roehampton’s Isabelle Simpson.
Her one-hole win in the morning, was followed by a comfortable 5&4 triumph over Ireland’s Jessica Ross.
Toy said: “I’m trying not to give up the title. Obviously, making the cut on the mark was a relief and coming through two rounds I’m pleased to be where I am.
“It was a really good match this morning and I was pleased to get the win,” added the Carlyon Bay member.
“This afternoon I played nicely again. I have been struggling a little bit with form coming into this event. So it has been nice to actually see some nice shots.
“At the start of the week, in my eyes, the trophy was out there for anyone to win.
“I’m just coming to an event trying to win like everyone else. If I can keep doing the right things and if that is good enough at the end of the week then great.
It’s my first time here and I’m really enjoying it,” said Toy, who missed out on the chance to play at Augusta in April because of the COVID-19 crisis, which saw the second ever Augusta National Women’s Amateur cancelled along with the Masters.
Is Price right for Emily’s double?
LUDLOW’S in-form Emily Price, who won the English Women’s Amateur Championship earlier this month, maintained her bid for more glory.
She beat Iceland’s Hulda Clara Gestsdottir 2&1 to reach the last-16 where she will face Lithunia’s Gilė Bitė Starkutė.
Denmark’s Amalie Leth-Nissen – who was the leading qualifier on countback – lost out to her older sister, Cecilie, at the final hole in an emotional contest in the opening tie of the day.
It was a notable triumph, given Cecilie is ranked 765th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking compared to Amalie who sits at 47th.
However, Scotland’s Hannah Darling, the Girls’ Under 16 Open Champion in 2018, then ended the hopes of Leth-Nissen in the afternoon with a one-hole victory.
Seventeen-year-old Darling said: “It feels good to reach the last-16. I was just solid out there today.
“In both matches I think I was two-down after three. So I’m just really proud of how I ground it out and stuck in there.
“It’s the type of golf course where anything can happen. I wouldn’t say it is a course you can go low on. You have to grind it out and scramble.
“I heard Cecilie had a close game in the morning with her sister. I’m friends with them both, and it was then nice to have a good match against her too.
“It’s my first time in the Women’s Amateur. But it’s matchplay and I’ve done well in those events in the past. So I just have to keep it going.
“I’m probably younger than most people out there. But as my dad says, age has nothing to do it with it, and it’s about performing,”said the Broomienknowe teenager.
Florida’s Fuller still in as German marches on
ROEHAMPTON’S newly crowned English Strokeplay champion Annabell Fuller is also in the last-16.
The University of Florida ace first beat Royal Cromer’s fellow England international Amelia Williamson 2&1, and St Mellion’s Megan Giles 5&4 in the second round.
Of the other leading qualifiers, Whitley Bay’s Rosie Belsham lost to Annabel Bailey, from Leicestershire’s Kirby Muxloe by one hole.
Bailey was then knocked out by Kent’s Shama Dutrieux at the 23rd hole.
Italian Alessia Nobilio, the World No. 5, quietly went about her work to reach the last 16. Meanwhile two German players – Paula Schulz-Hanssen and Aline Krauter – also progressed.
Schulz-Hanssen, who has already won the Swiss Amateur title this year, was delighted with her progress.
She said: “I’m happy to be in the last-16. I played pretty good today.
“I played 32 holes in the two matches and I had 12 birdies and only four bogeys. It is tough playing 36 holes in the one day.
“I was level par for the strokeplay qualifying, but today was even better,” said last year’s European Young Masters winner.
“The course is so beautiful to play, so amazing. There are so many holes where you can really attack the flag.
“If you hit good shots, you can get good results. It’s my first time playing in the event and I’m playing well,” said Schulz-Hanssen, a member of Europe’s 2019 Solheim Junior Cup team.
Humphreys waiting for putts to drop
ESSEX’S Lily May Humphreys, the highest-ranked English player in the field, now faces Schulz-Hanssen in Friday’s showdown.
The Stoke-by-Nayland player who was runner-up to Price at Woodhall Spa, said: “It feels really good. It’s my best so far in this championship.
“I haven’t done that great in it before. Hopefully I can carry on through tomorrow to the semi-finals,” added Humphreys, who won the Irish and Welsh Strokeplay titles last year.
“I feel like I played solid today, tee-to-green – just didn’t hole a massive amount of putts,” Lily May added.
“It was less breezy out there today. A little drizzle in the afternoon, but the conditions were better.”
Meanwhile Italian Carolina Melgrati also exited at the 19th to Wales’ Ffion Tynan.
Tynan continued her form as she defeated Berkshire’s Irish international Laura Webb, the oldest player in the field at 57, with a 2&1 victory against the East Berkshire veteran.
Webb was named captain of Ireland’s national team for 2020 and won the Irish Seniors championship in 2019.
That win completed the first-ever Irish Ladies slam by winning the Girls, Women’s and Over 50s titles during her career.
West Lancashire’s Hollie left to Muse after defeat
THERE was disappointment however for West Lancashire’s Hollie Muse and Scotland’s Hazel MacGarvie, who were knocked out at the last-64 stage.
The other England players still in the hat are Carus Green’s Caitlin Whithead after her wins over Scot Lorna McClymont, from Milngavie, by 4&3 – and last year’s English Amateur Champion Ellen Hume, from Mill Green, in Hertfordshire, by 4&2.
Fourteen-year-old Chiara Noja, who was born in Germany and raised in the UK, faces another teenager in Nobillo.
The latter is the current Italian and Portuguese Amateur Stokeplay Champion.
Dutrieux, from Wrotham Heath, will play another Italian in the shape of Emilie Paltrinieri, last year’s German Girls Champion, after her win at the fifth extra hole.
The matchplay continues, with the last-16 and quarter-final ties played, ahead of Saturday’s semi-finals and the 18-hole final.
There are significant rewards for the champion with exemptions into the AIG Women’s Open and traditionally, the US Women’s Open, The Evian Championship and Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.