LEEDS-BORN Gemma Batty is the new English women’s open match play champion.
The former Pike Hills member beat Kent’s Cloe Frankish 4&3 in the final at Holme Hall in Lincolnshire.
After confirming victory with a birdie, she said: “I am really, really pleased.
“I have always wanted to win a national title and to do it like this, without a practice round and not seeing the course as much as I’d like, is very special.
“I knew my game was good, but I needed to prove it to myself and I’ve done that this week.”
Batty, 22, is a student at Stirling University and could not get to Holme Hall in time for a practice round after playing in the World University Games.
But having progressed through the stroke play stage of the championship, there was no stopping her.
“I’ve played really well, very solid,” said Batty, who was born in Yorkshire, but is now based in Scotland where she is a member at Moffat.
She made her way past West Essex’s Sophie Madden 2&1 in the semi-finals, to meet English Under-16 girls’ champion Frankish in the final. Her 17-year-old opponent, from Chart Hills, required a marathon effort to reach the final, eventually defeating Georgina Blackman (Chelmsford) with a birdie on the 21st.
Batty hit the birdie trail straight away in the final and had racked up four by the time she closed out the match.
She quickly got ahead, helped by a chip-in at the fourth, and was two up through five. She lost the eighth, but pushed ahead on the back nine – despite a heavy downpour – winning the 11th, 12th and 14th before the 15th was halved with birdies.
“I am very happy,” said Batty, who defeated Georgina Coughlin (St Annes Old Links) and Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe) in earlier rounds. She will next head to France for a university match against injured Servicemen.