RACHEL Gourley maintained her position at the top to lead stroke play qualifying at the R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship at Fulford.
The 17-year-old carded a new women’s course record at the Yorkshire venue after an opening eight-under-par 66 and followed that with a steady level-par 74.
Gourley, a winner with England at the R&A Girls’ Home Internationals last week, progressed to the match play stages as the leading qualifier with her eight-under-par total, two shots ahead of compatriot Lottie Woad and Scotland’s Hannah Darling.
Darling, the highest-ranked player in the field and boosted by her Curtis Cup selection on Monday, continued her rich vein of form on the course after a bogey-free round of 70 to add to her 72.
The 18-year-old, who won the R&A Girls’ U16 Amateur Championship at Fulford in 2018, carded four birdies in her first 13 holes and passed up other good opportunities in the closing stretch.
In pleasant conditions for the 92nd staging of the championship, Woad finished on the same six-under-par mark as Darling after back-to-back rounds of 71. The 17-year-old is clearly in confident mood, achieving 12 birdies in her 36 holes – the best birdie record in the field.
The leading 32 players progressed to tomorrow’s match play stage, with the cut falling at seven-over-par.
Two other in-form English players also qualified comfortably, Maggie Whitehead and Patience Rhodes, with Ireland’s Beth Coulter – runner-up to Darling in 2018 –and Swiss sisters Ella and Victoria Levy also securing a last-32 spot. The youngest player in the field, Roisin Scanlon, 13, is into the match play format too.
The last staging of the Girls’ Amateur in 2019 was won by Slovenia's Pia Babnik – the teenager already a Ladies’ European Tour winner in 2021 – with past winners also including Suzann Pettersen, Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall.
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