2004: Amateurs - Swede Stahle extends streak

Gullane, Scotland

Get familiar with the name Louise Stahle. She appears ready to make an impact at Arizona State this fall after becoming the first Swedish player to win the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship.

Stahle, a 19-year-old from Barseback, defeated Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup player Anna Highgate, 4 and 2, in the 18-hole final June 27 over Gullane’s No. 1 course.

It was Stahle’s third victory in as many weeks, following triumphs at the Swedish Pro Tour’s Beint Café Ladies Trophy in Stockholm and the St. Rule Trophy at St. Andrews.

“It’s a terrific feeling to have made history in Swedish sports by becoming the first golfer from my country to win the British Women’s Open Amateur Championship,” Stahle said. “I came into the British with a lot of confidence.

“I drove pretty long and straight all week but I think the biggest plus in my game was that I putted well every day.”

Stahle overcame England’s Sophie Walker, 3 and 2, to reach the final. She won three of the first four holes from Highgate to take a lead she never relinquished. She was 3 under par when the match ended on the par-3 16th.

Highgate defeated defending champion Elisa Serramia of Spain in 20 holes in the other semifinal. Serramia, who will play college golf for California this fall, was bidding to become the first player to successfully defend her title since Mickey Walker in 1971-72.

Reaching the final was redemption of sorts for Highgate after a miserable Curtis Cup. The Welsh woman played only one match at Formby, losing to Michelle Wie, 5 and 4, in the first singles session.

Highgate’s chances in the final were hindered when she suffered a back injury while hitting out of rough on the second hole. She needed two timeouts to have the injury treated.

“I was 1-under-par for the front nine and 3 down,” Highgate said. “So I couldn’t really do much about that. Louise played so well.”

Highgate was one of eight Curtis Cup members to play in the championship. That number included two United States players, Annie Thurman and NCAA champion Sarah Huarte. Both, however, lost in the second round.

Thurman lost to Canada’s Laura Matthews, the assistant women’s coach at the University of Georgia, 1 up. Huarte, ranked No. 1 in the Golfweek/Titleist Amateur Rankings, fought back from 2 down against Serramia, but lost at the 19th hole when the Spaniard holed a 20-foot birdie putt.

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