Another England international, Florentyna Parker, was runner-up – soaring up the leaderboard with a flawless, best-of-the-tournament 67 in the final round.
She finished on five under par – but she couldn’t catch Melissa, who led from start to finish.
“This is really special, it’s my first major,” said 19-year-old Melissa, who plays at Chevin in Derbyshire.
Already this season she’s given the professionals a run for their money finishing 16th at the Women’s British Open - where she won the amateur salver – and ninth in the Ladies English Open. In the amateur ranks she’s taken the Scottish strokeplay title and the St Rule Trophy.
After her victory she was quick to pay tribute to the English Ladies’ Golf Association who have backed her with expert guidance and financial support throughout her amateur career.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without them. They started me out and have helped me throughout my amateur career – so full credit to them,” said Melissa.
The Curtis Cup player appeared to have a stranglehold on the tournament at the halfway stage when she was six-under par and held a five shot lead. But, over the final 36 holes she had to withstand the determined challenges of England’s Florentyna Parker and Spain’s Emma Cabrera.
First came Cabrera, with a five-under par 69 in the third round. Melissa shot 75 and the two players shared the lead.
In the final round, Cabrera fell away with three bogeys in her first four holes. Melissa, meanwhile picked up three birdies and was eight-under for the tournament after 10 holes.
But the danger was Florentyna Parker (Royal Birkdale) who put together a superb seven-under par 67, composed of seven birdies and 11 pars. “Emma shot a great round and Flory shot a fantastic round. You have to hand it to them,” said Melissa, who ultimately had the luxury of bogeys on the last two holes on her way to the title.
The key to her success is hard work. “I used to hit thousands and thousands of balls but that’s not the way to become a good player. You also have to work hard at everything else, at nutrition, at fitness and psychology. You are an athlete at the end of the day.
“I have worked a lot harder this year and I’m going to wok even harder next year.”
The big question now is when Melissa will turn professional. So far she’s always said 2008 but now, after this latest success, she admits the question is “under review.”
First though, she’s got a lot coming up, including representing ELGA at the European ladies’ amateur championship next week and another outing with the pros at a Ladies European Tour event in Austria at the end of September,
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Fearless Women in Sport