Tuesday 20 August 2019

Wilson rallies to deny Grant her third Irish Women's Close

Winner Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) after her victory at the 2019 Irish Women's Close Amateur Championship at Woodbrook Golf Club. Photo: Pat Cashman
Winner Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) after her victory at the 2019 Irish Women's Close Amateur Championship at Woodbrook Golf Club. Photo: Pat Cashman

Brian Keogh

Annabel Wilson denied Lisburn's Paula Grant a third Irish Women's Close title on the 19th at Woodbrook.

A two-time Irish Girls champion, the Lurgan star (18) came into the event feeling rusty after taking nearly three months out of the game to concentrate on her A levels.

But her lack of practice proved no impediment as she beat leading qualifier Jessica Ross 4&2 in the morning semi-finals before coming from two down with two to play to beat Curtis Cup player Grant at the first tie hole.

"It hasn't hit me. I think it will on the drive home," said Wilson (above), who has long been one of Ireland's top internationals. "I'm knackered, but I'm buzzing."

Grant beat Castlewarden's Lauren Walsh by one hole in her semi-final, but she bunkered her tee shot at the 17th and three-putted before Wilson hit a 250-yard drive to the last and an approach to 10 feet to take the final to the 19th.

Grant was forced to chip out sideways after her tee shot finished behind a tree on the par-five first and that proved crucial as she took two more to find the green.

Wilson is now looking forward to her move to UCLA in September to compete on the NCAA Division 1 circuit against the likes of Arizona State's Olivia Mehaffey, Auburn's Julie McCarthy and Louisville's Mairead Martin.

"I can't wait," said Wilson, who also claimed the Sybil Meharg trophy for best U-18 in stroke play qualifying.

"It's brilliant. They've a great golf programme, and they've produced so many LPGA Tour players, and that's where I want to be so I think it's the perfect school for me."

Ross returns to Belfast with the Leitrim Cup, while Emma Fleming won the Ita Wallace Plate.

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