They repeatedly played the uphill par three 18th until Heidi triumphed with her fourth consecutive par. Kelly had three pars before bogeying the hole when her fourth tee shot found a greenside bunker.
“I feel really happy now – I’ve won a major,” said 13-year-old Heidi, who plays at Felixstowe Ferry and is a member of ELGA’s Midland Select squad.
Heidi was trailing Manchester’s Kelly by one shot after three rounds but quickly caught and passed her with a blistering start to the final round.
Heidi was four-under par for the front nine while Kelly was one-over at the same stage. On the back nine, however, the Lancashire player fought back and came home in two-over 38, despite a double bogey on the difficult par four 17th.
Heidi also had her problems on the back nine and came home in 42, with a double bogey on the 145-yard 18th. At the end of regulation play both girls were tied on 16-over par for the 72-hole event. Kelly had shot 77, 76, 76, 75 while Heidi posted 76, 78, 76, 74.
In the play-off Heidi made no mistakes. She teed off with a four-iron and made par on each of the four occasions she played the hole. Meanwhile, her mother, Sunny, sat on a nearby bank with her face buried in her hands, unable to watch.
Kelly, an England girl international, used a six iron for her tee shot and parred the hole on the first three occasions. On the fourth, though, she found the lefthand greenside bunker and her shot out left a tricky uphill putt of at least 20ft across a slope. When it missed, Heidi was left with two putts for the title.
It was Heidi’s first play-off and she remarked: “It was a bit nervy with all the people watching – but it was also very exciting!”
Her win ends Kelly’s long reign at the top in junior golf. She won the U15 championship in 2006 and was the English U13 champion in 2004 and 2005.
Full scores: www.englishladiesgolf.org
Fearless Women in Sport