Cara Gainer from Castle Royale Golf Club in Berkshire claimed the English Women’s Open Matchplay Championship with a 3&2 victory over England international Lizzie Prior (Burhill GC, Surrey).
Gainer, 21, stayed cool in the heat during the final on Sunday (8th July) and had a hot putter to thank, as she won four holes on the bounce at the beginning of the tough back nine on the JH Taylor course at Royal Mid-Surrey in Richmond-on-Thames.
Following a tense front-nine where neither player found a rhythm, Gainer won the 10th and 11th followed by two 15ft putts for birdie on the next two holes to take control.
After the 14th was halved, Prior hit back with a birdie of her own at the par-5 15th to gain a hole back, but the 16th was halved giving Gainer the victory.
“I’m in a bit of a dream, it’s crazy,” said Gainer, who made a decision to play full-time golf after completing a degree in geography at Cardiff University. Throughout the championship I’ve come into my own on the back nine. The par-5’s really work for me and I do love that back stretch of holes here at Royal Mid-Surrey,” she added.
In the semi-finals, Gainer beat Sophie Newlove (Beeston Fields GC, Nottinghamshire) also by 3&2 after coming through the previous rounds with a series of hole outs.
In the quarter-finals, she held off the challenge of Emily Slater (Gog Magog, Cambs & Hunts), coming from behind to win 2&1 including a chip-in on the 13th.
That followed a sensational end to her first round match, closing the game out with an albatross two on the par-5 17th to beat Kate Bibby (The Els Club, Dubai) 2&1.
“We congratulate Cara on her victory which was very well deserved,” said Club Chairman, Chris Holt. “It was difficult out there in the sunshine, but some of the golf played was incredible. We’ve had some very positive comments on the layout and condition of the course and we hope to host the tournament again in the near future.”