Heartbreak as Ireland denied by Scotland

IRELAND were pipped at the post in a gripping finale to the Women’s Amateur Home International at rain-sodden Whitchurch in Cardiff yesterday.

A six foot putt on the last green by Scotland’s British Open strokeplay champion Pamela Pretswell denied Ireland their first title for six years.

That clinching putt gave the 22-year-old Glasgow University student a one-hole victory over the brilliant and previously unbeaten Leona Maguire.

It resulted in a 5-4 win for the Scots, who lifted the Miller Trophy for the first time since 1991. If Maguire and Pretswell had halved, the spoils would have been shared and Ireland would have carried off the title by virtue of having secured more individual points.

Scotland won the foursomes 2-1 and in the afternoon Irish champion Mary Dowling had a ding-dong tussle with Kelsey MacDonald. She was one up at the turn and still one ahead with five to play but eventually lost on the last.

Danielle McVeigh was in scintillating form, crushing Jane Turner 6&5 while Lisa Maguire had a real nail-biter with Rachel Watton, who played out of her skin to hunt the Irish teenager to the home hole before finally succumbing.

Sinead O’Sullivan was always down in her match but Charlene Reid, two behind with six to play, won three holes on the bounce to nose in front, conceded the 15th to be brought back to square, regained the initiative at the 16th and held on for victory.

Leona Maguire birdied the short 15th to grab the lead against Pretswell but lost the next and when the Scot got up and down at the last, knocking in a six-foot putt, it was all over.

It was a great week though for Lisa Maguire as she was the only player in the championship with a maximum six points. She, along with twin sister Leona and McVeigh, can now look forward to the World Championship challenge next month in Argentina.

England finished with the wooden spoon after being held 4½-4½ by Wales.


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