New Zealand’s Lynnette Brooky overcame difficult conditions to card a fine five under par 67 and claim top spot at the Final Qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Hillside.
The 42 year-old four-time Ladies European Tour winner from Wellington carded six birdies and dropped just one shot on the 498-yard par-5 5th hole to finish four shots ahead of France’s Melodie Bourdy, Korea’s Sarah Lee, England’s Henrietta Zuel and Ireland’s Martina Gillen.
Korea’s Julie Yang became one of the youngest ever qualifiers at the age of just 15 when she posted a one over par 73 to finish alongside a cosmopolitan group comprising Italy’s Matia Maffuletti, Paraguay’s Julieta Granada, Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord, Sweden’s Louise Friberg, South Africa’s Stacy Bregman, Austria’s Stefanie Michl and Welsh amateur Amy Boulden while Denmark’s Karen Margrethe Juul, Scotland’s Lynn Kenny and France’s Sophie Giguel claimed the last three spots available on the second hole of a sudden-death play-off after registering rounds of 74.
The alternate places for the Championship which starts at Royal Birkdale on Thursday went (in order) to Australia’s Rebecca Flood, Spain’s Mariana Macias, France’s Barbara Genuini and Sweden’s Louise Stahle. They will be added to the field should any exempt players drop out.
Brooky recovered from her bogey on the 5th with consecutive birdies at the 340-yard par-4 6th and 143-yard par-3 7th before getting up-and-down from sand to save par on the treacherous 405-yard par-4 9th.
The New Zealander admitted later that was the key shot in her round and she promptly fired three consecutive birdies from the 10th before finishing her round with her sixth birdie of the day on the 525-yard par-5 17th.
15 year-old Yang shared first place on four under par 68 at the recent Ricoh Women’s British Open Championship Pre-Qualifying at The Berkshire and she will now get the chance to test her game against the best players in the world after a splendid 73 in which she fired one birdie, two bogeys and no less than 15 pars.
Yang is a product of the renowned Loretto Golf Academy in Edinburgh and won the recent Welsh Women’s Open Amateur Championship at Southerndown. She becomes one of the youngest players ever to compete in the Ricoh Women’s British Open Championship.
This year’s field included 27 of the world’s top-30 women golfers but there is no place for Spanish Solheim Cup player Tania Elosegui or last year’s leading qualifier Jill McGill who both dropped out after posting four over par rounds of 76.
Yang and Welsh international Amy Boulder were the only two of 17 amateurs to make it into the main draw. Valentine Deery from France and England’s Charley Hull and Holly Clyburn all lost out on alternative places after registering rounds of 75 while English international Hannah Barwood, France’s Lucie Andre and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn posted four over par rounds of 76.
Further down the list England’s Jess Wilcox recorded a 77 to be one shot ahead of compatriot Charlotte Dalton while Scottish Sally Watson, England’s Lucy Williams and Sian James and Tara Davies from Wales all carded 80s. Two other English girls, Rachel Jennings and Emma Sheffield recorded 82s while Hannah Burke finished on 85.
Qualifiers (* denotes amateur)
67 – Lynnette Brooky (NZ)
71 – Melodie Bourdy (Fr), Sarah Lee (Kor), Henrietta Zuel (Eng), Martina Gillen (Ire)
72 – R. Coakley (Ire)
73 – Julie Yang * (Kor), Amy Boulden* (Wal), Matia Maffuletti (It), Julieta Granada (Par), Marianne Skarpnord (Nor), Louise Freiberg (Swe), Stacy Bregman (RSA), Stefanie Michl (Austria)
74- Karen Margrethe Juul (Den), Lynn Kenny (Sco), Sophie Giquel (Fr), (Aus)
Failed to Qualify (after sudden-death play-off)
74 – Rebecca Flood (Aus), Mariana Marcias (Sp), Barbara Genuini (Fr)