Humphreys ends her year with first American trophy

ALL SMILES: Lily May Humphreys (left) with the Orange Bowl trophy
ALL SMILES: Lily May Humphreys (left) with the Orange Bowl trophy

Golf star Lily May Humphreys capped a superb year when she wrote her name into the history books by winning the girls’ title at the Junior Orange Bowl International in Florida by an incredible nine shots.

In doing so the Great Cornard resident became the first English player to win the prestigious event, scoring nine-under par over 72 holes at the Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Miami.

Humphreys, 15, who trains at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club under Roly Hitchcock but is also a member at Newton Green, said: “This is very big for me because I came over just to experience what it’s like to play on American courses. To win this is just amazing for me.”

It was her fourth big title of 2017, following wins in the British Girls’, English Women’s — as the youngest ever champion — and European Young Masters championships.

“It’s definitely been a year to remember. I didn’t think I’d be able to top 2016 but I have!

“I’ll just have to try to do the same in 2018,” said the England Golf squad member.

Humphreys was making her first visit to the USA and, despite having to get used to the different grass, she made an instant impact by taking fifth place in the Dixie Amateur on seven-under par.

When she moved on to the Junior Orange Bowl she was at the top of the leaderboard throughout, sharing first place after her first round of two-under 69 and then forging ahead on her own with rounds of 67, 66 and 73.

Her third round 66 was the low score of the girls’ championship and put her 10 shots clear of the field.

Her opponents could barely dent that advantage as she signed off with 73, compiled in chilly, windy conditions, and including a sought-after birdie on the 18th.

“It was nice to do that in the final round, after trying all week, in front of everyone watching,” said Humphreys.

She adds her name to a list of former champions who include a host of players who have gone on to win Majors, such as Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson.

But apart from the win she also enjoyed ‘the weather and meeting lots of different people to make friends with’.

Another England player, Annabell Fuller of Roehampton, Surrey, tied 20th after rounds of 75, 76, 76 and 75.

Fuller, also 15, is the English Girls’ U16 champion and, like Humphreys, has been named in the initial 14 player Great Britain and Ireland squad for the prestigious 2018 Curtis Cup match against the United States.

The 40th Curtis Cup match will take place at Quaker Ridge, New York, in June.