Belfast Telegraph

Wilson gets results she wanted on opening day at Galgorm


Special talent: Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson produced a superb round at Galgorm yesterday
Special talent: Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson produced a superb round at Galgorm yesterday
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

If Lurgan amateur Annabel Wilson was any more laid back, she'd probably be horizontal.

No more than an hour after she received her A-Level results, the 18-year-old took to Galgorm Castle Golf Club in her first ever professional event at the ISPS World Invitational and proceeded to shoot the best round of the morning with a two-under 71.

Although that score was bettered in the afternoon by overnight leader Eleanor Givens (England), who shot a six-under 67, it was a stunning opening round for Wilson.

If you didn't know it was her first pro event, she certainly didn't show it herself.

"No nerves. That's one thing I noticed, I wasn't nervous at all because I was right there in the moment," grinned the teenage star, who won the Irish Amateur Close in June.

"Nerves come when you think about the outcome but I didn't and I had no nerves at all. I'm pretty chilled out all the time, not much fazes me!"

It was a big day on two fronts for her too, with her exam results posted at 7am while she was on the practice range, leading to a little bit of an anxious wait while she was warming up.

She needn't have bothered. Bs in her Geography and Maths, and what should be at least another B in her Technology exam, is enough to secure her place for the upcoming academic year at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she will continue her golf career.

"I was looking for my tee time and was praying for an afternoon slot so I wouldn't get them while I was warming up - and I got 8am!" Wilson laughed.

"I had to get a certain result to get into university - I'm actually going in three weeks. I knew I'd got them but it's just a relief to definitely have them in now."

As for the golf, it wasn't half bad either.

It had looked a bit dicey at one point when, after starting on the 10th at Galgorm, the Ireland international went bogey-double bogey on the 17th and 18th, but her front nine was exceptional.

Birdies came at the second, fourth, fifth and via a chip-in at the sixth, and she even finished with a flourish by birdieing the ninth.

"I hit one bad shot on 18 which cost me, but I was just in the moment. There are a few birdie opportunities on the front nine - my back nine - so if I just stayed patient I knew they would drop," added Wilson.

"I got a run of three (birdies) in a row, and the chip-in helped, but I just stuck to the game plan and didn't let it bother me.

"I felt my putting was lovely, I had a really nice roll all day. I holed a nice putt on the fifth, I made a nice read there and hit it exactly the way I wanted to, and then the chip-in at the next as well."

Local favourite Stephanie Meadow is three shots off the lead after she carded a three-under 70 at Galgorm, with four birdies and a bogey.

The 27-year-old drew a large crowd throughout her first round which led to some unexpected jitters over her first tee shot.

"I was a tiny bit nervous on the first tee, which is a bit unusual!" she laughed.

"It was more emotional than anything, nervous isn't the right word, just more emotional than normal.

"Obviously I want to play well for everybody and give everybody a show who came to support me.

"I started good and then a little shaky in the middle, and then battled back towards the end. Hit a lot of good putts but nothing really fell, but it's a decent start.

"I'm just happy that I hit some really good iron shots on the way in and when that happens, that's a good sign for the rest of the week."

Leader Givens holds a two-shot advantage over Beth Allen (USA) and Karolin Lampert (Germany), who both shot five-under 68s at Galgorm, while Meadow's playing partner Annabel Dimmock, Belgium's Manon de Roey and Spain's Silva Banon also carded 70s to lie three-under.

Cavan's Leona Maguire is well positioned after a one-under 72, however twin sister Lisa struggled to a four-over 77.

Solheim Cup star Charley Hull is at one-over after an opening 73 at Massereene, with Scotland's Carly Booth one better at level par despite triple-bogeying the 18th at the same course.

Belfast Telegraph


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