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Girls' British Open: Bonetti kills off Maguire’s bid for glory

By Peter Hutcheon

Irish teenage star Lisa Maguire failed in her bid to lift the Girls' British Open title over the Royal Belfast course yesterday, but can still feel proud of her performance during the week.

The 15-year-old Curtis Cup player from Slieve Russell was not at her best in going down by 3&2 in the semi-finals to French champion Alexandra Bonetti, who went on to lift the crown with an emphatic success against Italian Laura Sedda.

Lisa made a very disappointing start when she lost three of the first four holes, all as a result of bogeys.

Bonetti dropped a stroke at the sixth to lose a hole and fall back to only two ahead, but then doubled her advantage when Maguire bogeyed the seventh and eighth on her way to an outward half of 40, five-over par.

A birdie by Maguire at the 10th suggested that she was about to stage a comeback as she played the homeward half well in the quarter-finals.

But it was not to be as she made a mess of the 11th to go four down for a second time.

The Cavan girl's putting started to improve and she holed a testing five-footer at the 12th and then canned a 25-foot putt for a birdie three at the 13th only for Bonetti to follow her in from 15-feet for a half.

Three down with five holes remaining she was still three behind with three to play and needed a birdie at the 16th to keep the match alive, but could not roll in a 20-foot putt and the hole was halved in four allowing the French champion to move into the final.

Maguire now heads for Wales with her twin sister Leona for next week's British Open Stroke-play championship.

In the other semi-final, Sedda beat Spaniard Andrea Villarasau. Bonnetti clinched the title with a convincing 7&6 victory over Sedda.

Meanwhile, Irish teenagers Dermot McElroy and Jeff Hopkins are through to the quarter-finals of the British Boys Open Championship at Kilmarnock.

Hopkins, the Skerries boy, recorded two nail-biting last green victories first over Warwickshire's Jamie Rutherford and then David Blick of Devon. He now faces France's Stanislas Gautier this morning for a place in the last four.

McElroy, a 17-year-old from Ballymena, had a battle royal with fellow Irish international Alex Gleeson in the morning.

He eventually won 2&1 and then overcame Ewan Scott from St Andrews on the home green after a monster struggle to set up a meeting this morning with German Aaron Leitmannstetter.

Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge lost 3&2 in the third round to Scott Gibson of Southerness.

Meanwhile, Ulsterman Garth McGimpsey finished a highly-credible third in the British Seniors Open Championship on the Old Course at Walton Heath yesterday after three very solid rounds.

A closing 73 gave the former Walker Cup captain and 1985 Amateur champion a 54-hole aggregate of 215 — one under par — to end up seven strokes adrift of winner Paul Simson, who won by five from fellow American Chip Lutz.

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