England international Rachel Jennings has won the French Lady Junior championship at St Cloud with a gutsy 2/1 victory over Spain’s Ane Urchegui.
The 19-year-old from Izaak Walton Golf Club in Staffordshire was made to fight for her title and she was four-under par for the last seven holes of the match.
Her dazzling play brought her back from two down to win on the 17th – and she become the second English player in two years to hold this prestigious U21 title. The 2007 champion was Lancashire’s Florentyna Parker.
“I just feel completely fantastic,” said Rachel. “All the hard work is paying off and I’m so happy for everyone at the English Women’s Golf Association who have put so much time and effort and money into getting the best out of me. This is for them as well.”
Rachel was in command through the first half of the 36-hole final and came in to lunch two up. But in the afternoon the Spaniard produced a run of six consecutive threes – only two of them on short holes – to take a two-up lead by the 10th.
“Ane played some fantastic golf but I didn’t get rattled. I didn’t think she would be able to keep it up and so I kept on playing steady golf. I knew there were still enough holes left to win the match.
Rachel turned the match around with birdies on the short holes, the 11th and 13th, to get back to all square. She moved ahead again with a birdie on the long 15th, bravely got up and down from a bunker on the 16th to keep her advantage, and then closed out the match with a birdie four on the 17th.
She added: “Now I just can’t wait to get home to Stoke and see my mum and dad!”
Linda Bayman, the performance director for the English Women’s Golf Association, said: “It was a fantastic match, played to a very high standard in vile weather. Both girls were well under par and it was quite spectacular stuff.”
Rachel, who won the English girls’ championship in 2006, has just been named as a reserve for the GB&I Curtis Cup team to take on the USA at St Andrews at the end of May. Rachel is a member of EWGA’s Performance squad.