Annabel wins Irish Women's Close Championship
Updated: Jul 4, 2019
What an exciting afternoon this was for rising star Annabel Wilson claiming her first Women's
Irish title beating two time title holder Paula Grant (Lisburn) in a nail-biting final. Annabel may have been feeling a little less than match fit having just finished her A level exams and having had a break from competitive golf for the last few months, but while she may have felt a little bit ring rusty she managed to hold her nerve against the experienced and talented Paula Grant to deny her a third Irish title. In Annabel's own words," I learned from the first day, I could see some rusty patches in my short game, which wasn’t sharp, but I’m fortunate enough my long game is up there. I’m always hitting fourteen or fifteen greens so that kind of saves me but there are some days like today when your timing is off but that’s the way it is, that’s golf and that’s why we love it!"
The week started well for the Lurgan girls, as Annabel along with Niamh McSherry and Maeve Cummins all made it through to the match play series following two rounds of qualifying. Maeve played Ciara Casey (Hermitage) in the first round and after a close match lost 2&1. Niamh won her first match against Sarah Byrne (Douglas) in a close match which finished on the 19th hole. In the second round she faced Corina Griffin (Killarney) and her run came to an end losing 3&2. Annabel was therefore the last Lurgan girl standing.
In her first round she had a comfortable win against Katie O'Hart (Courtown)
7&6, in the second she beat Eleanor Metcalf (Laytown and Bettystown) 3&2. The quarter final was a tighter affair but Annabel prevailed beating Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) 1up. The semi-final saw her face fellow Ulster player Jessica Ross (Clandeboye), but a good performance saw her take the match 4&2. In the final she faced another Ulster player in Paula Grant (Lisburn) in what turned out to be a thrilling and very tight encounter. Annabel had to fight hard for her victory coming back from two down with two holes to play to win on the first extra tie hole.
Paula Grant's tee shot on 17 found a bunker and her drive on the 19th tucked itself behind one of Woodbrook’s pine trees – ultimately costing her the match. Annabel managed to keep calm and hold her nerve for victory.
‘Honestly I was just playing golf, I had no nerves at all really. Paula sort of handed me one on 17, we both made sloppy errors there. On eighteen I hit a lovely approach in and then on the tie hole I just needed two rhythmic swings and that’s what I did.’
As well as claiming the Irish title, Annabel also won the Sybill Meharg trophy for best U18 in stroke play qualifying.
So all in all another great week for our Lurgan girls who deserve credit for making it through to the match play stages. The cherry on the cake was the fantastic win by Annabel. Many congratulations from all at Lurgan Golf Club on this superb achievement. Now that the exams and studying are over, hopefully Annabel can build on this achievement and get a few more titles under her belt.