CORNWALL’S Emily Toy produced the best performance of her career to win the 116th Women’s Amateur Championship at Royal County Down, on Saturday.
The 21-year-old from Carlyon Bay defeated Amelia Garvey by one hole in the 18-hole Final over the renowned links on the east coast of Northern Ireland.
Toy, who was ranked 450th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, ended Garvey’s hopes of becoming the first New Zealander since 1986 to claim the trophy.
In her morning semi-final against Linn Grant, the Englishwoman also shone to defeat the Swede, ranked 25th in the world, by two holes.
Toy is the first English player to win the title since Georgia Hall in 2013 and has earned a spot in the AIG Women’s British Open, at Woburn, in August thanks to her triumph.
The 2017 R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament champion has also gained exemptions into the 2019 Evian Championship, as well as the US Women’s Open and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship next year.
After both players made birdies on the third hole of the Final, Garvey went ahead at the fifth after Toy’s bogey.
However, Toy hit straight back at the sixth after a glorious approach set up a birdie.
The pair exchanged bogeys before another dropped shot from Toy handed Garvey the lead at the 11th.
Just when it looked like the University of Southern California student may pull clear, she bogeyed the 14th to return the contest to all square.
Toy let a chance slip at the 16th when she three-putted but made no mistake with a 20-foot putt for birdie at the 17th.
A par at the last was good enough for victory as Toy joined a roll of honour that also includes Ladies European Tour stars Anna Nordqvist (2008) and Céline Boutier (2015), who are set to face the Americans when Europe battle for the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, in September.
In the morning’s semi-finals, Toy was two down after only three holes to Grant.
She fought back to lead the match after Grant’s concession at the short 10th, doubled her lead at the 13th and won on the 18th thanks to an excellent approach shot.
Garvey was also down early to Daniella Barrett, who was bidding to become the first ever Finnish winner.
However, the 19-year-old clawed her way back to lead after six holes and never relinquished her advantage throughout the remainder of the match to triumph 3&1.
The Pam Barton Memorial Salver was awarded to Toy with runner-up Garvey receiving The Diana Fishwick Cup. Both trophies are named after great Amateur golfers from the South of England.
An international team award was presented after the stroke playing qualifying rounds with Italy taking the honours with an aggregate score of 296.
The 117th Women’s Amateur Championship will be played in 2020 at Kilmarnock (Barassie) from June 23-27.
The Ayrshire course hosted the men’s British Amateur Championship in 2001, when Ireland’s Michael Hoey beat Wiltshire’s Ian Campbell in the final to earn a spot at the 2002 Masters.