Lily May Humphreys misses out on third straight title in final play-off at English Women's Amateur Championships at Saunton Golf Club
Lily May Humphreys came desperately close to claiming a third national title in May, after taking her final of the English Women’s Amateur Championship to a play-off.
In the end, it was Hertfordshire’s Ellen Hume who got her name etched on the trophy for the first time, holing out ahead of the Stoke-by-Nayland-trained England star on the 19th hole at a wet and windy Saunton Golf Club in Devon yesterday.
Despite the most testing conditions the players produced great golf, with the momentum swinging to and fro over the closing stages.
Great Cornard-based Humphreys birdied the short 16th to get back to all square.
Hume immediately birdied the long 17 to go one ahead before Humphreys won 18 with a par three to take the game down the 19th.
It was there that Hume claimed the title with a steady par, after Humphreys’ approach found a thick clump of rough just off the green.
“It’s the toughest match I’ve ever played,” said the 19-year-old winner from Mill Green Golf Club.
“I know that Lily is a great player and I felt I was the underdog going into the match, definitely.
“It’s unbelievable, I never expected to win, especially with the opponents I’ve had. The odds weren’t in my favour!”
Humphreys, the 17-year-old top seed, was going for her third big title of the month, having already won the Irish and Welsh stroke play championships. But Hume’s confidence was high.
She’s returned from her first year at university in the USA with her game in great shape and underlined that earlier this month when she won the Hertfordshire championship.
Earlier this week she had already claimed a series of notable scalps, including those of defending champion Georgina Blackman and Emily Toy, another England international.
In Sunday morning’s semi-finals she showed her fighting qualities after going four down to Emily Brennan (Trentham) after five holes. Hume began her rally on the eighth and steadily pegged back the deficit until she won 3&1.
In the final she went straight on to the front foot by winning the first hole with a par, which she felt was key to her success.
“It was crucial to settle any nerves,” commented Hume.
She was never behind in the game, although Humphreys pulled her back to all square on three occasions.
“Match play is a format I like,” said Hume. “My game was in a good place after my year at college in America and winning the county championship – in exactly the same format – helped prepare me for this.”
Humphreys reached the final by beating Jess Baker (Gosforth Park Ladies) 7&6.
She had been first to claim her place in the semis, with a 4&3 win over England team-mate Bel Wardle (Prestbury, Cheshire) on Saturday, having earlier beaten Hertfordshire’s Rebecca Earl.
The quarter-final clash against Wardle was a game many would have fancied as a final, bringing together the two highest ranked players in the field, with Humphreys currently 31st in the world, while Wardle is 37th.
They played brisk, good quality golf, with Humphreys always ahead and holding tight to her advantage when necessary; for example on the 10th where she holed a 20-footer for a half and rewarded herself with a fist pump.
“This was a big match and I knew it would be tough. It’s good to beat Bel, she’s a very good player, very solid and she doesn’t usually give anything away, you have to take it for yourself,” said Humphreys, who played the 14 holes in level par.
“I haven’t shot over par this week, which is good round here,” added the 17-year-old, who previously won the championship in 2017.
More by this authorRussell Claydon
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