Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall took pole position heading into this week’s Ladies’ British Amateur Championship at Ganton Golf Club in Yorkshire, England. The Oklahoma State player took the No. 1seeding when she finished medalist after 36 holes of qualifying.
Caroline Hedwall – Well worthy of her No. 1 seed and will take a lot of stopping.
Carlota Ciganda – No one would be surprised if the strong Spaniard makes it two wins in four years.
Sally Watson – Can she make up for the disappointment of losing the Curtis Cup by winning the biggest title in British women’s amateur golf?
Jacqueline Hedwall – It will be interesting to see if sibling rivalry spurs her on.
Holly Clyburn – Like Watson, she will want this title badly after Curtis Cup deflation.
Hedwall’s rounds of 73, 70 for a 143 total of 3-under-par helped her to a two shot lead over Canada’s Sara Juneau and Giulia Molinaro of Italy.
Hedwall ended her two-year stint at Oklahoma State as the NCAA individual champion. The 21-year-old from Stockholm made history by becoming the first Oklahoma State women’s player to win the title.
The Golfweek first team All-American will try for her Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour cards later this season.
Uniquely for this championship, there are two chances for the name Hedwall to get on the trophy. Caroline’s twin sister Jacqueline also made it through to the match-play stages.
The twin Swedes will have strong opposition over the three days of match play; not least from Molinaro. The Arizona State player was in contention for medallist honors until she drove into the trees on the last hole.
If a Hedwall doesn’t win the championship, then odds are, it will be a Spaniard. That’s the way it’s been in this tournament since 2003. The last seven championships have been divided between Spain and Sweden, with Spain holding a 4-3 advantage.
Carlota Ciganda, the 2007 champion, made it through to the match-play stages. The rest of the field will be hoping geography doesn’t decide the winner. Ciganda, a teammate of Molinaro at Arizona State, won the championship at Alwoodley three years ago, another Yorkshire course.
England’s Rebecca Hudson was the last golfer from the British Isles to win this title. She took the 2002 championship. British hopes rest on the shoulders of four of the beaten Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team.
Sally Watson led the British quartet by finishing 10th after rounds of 72, 76, for a 2-over-par total of 148. The Stanford player is joined in the match-play stages by Curtis Cup teammates Rachel Jennings, Holly Clyburn and Pamela Pretswell.
Juneau was one of six Canadians to make the match-play stages from the squad of seven who made the trip to England. Canada has supported this tournament well over the years, sending a lot of players. It would be fitting, therefore, if a Canadian were to make that effort worthwhile by carrying off the title.