The 23-year-old from Ganton has twice been runner-up in this championship and finally claimed the title when she beat Derbyshire’s Melissa Reid 2/1 in the final. “It feels fantastic,” said Naomi. “I’m so relieved!
“I knew it was going to be a tough match but you have to be positive,”
added Naomi, who was one under par in the final.
She rates it as the biggest moment in her career, which has included playing in the Curtis Cup and previous victories in the English mid-amateur championship, the St Rule Trophy and the Welsh open strokeplay.
Naomi took charge early in the match and was three-up after eight holes, helped by birdies on the outward par fives, the 5th and 7th.
But Melissa began a fightback with a birdie three on the 12th where she holed a superb putt over a saddle in the green. She then narrowed the margin to one hole with a par on the 15th.
But Naomi sealed the title over the tough closing holes. She was just short of the long 16th green in two and almost holed her long eagle putt, leaving the ball stone dead. Melissa’s approach to the green took a hard bounce right over the putting surface into thick rough by the next tee. Her delicate chip finished within 3ft of the hole but, in what she later blamed on a lapse in concentration, she missed the putt.
On the 173-yard 17th Melissa appeared to have the advantage. Her ball was about 20ft from the pin while Naomi’s eight-iron bounced straight through and down a steep bank at the back of the green.
From there, and unable to see even the top of the pin, she played an exquisite shot with a lob wedge to within about 15ft. Melissa’s birdie attempt lipped out and Naomi took her chance, ramming home the putt for a half – and the championship.
She puts her success down to her fresh focus on her golf. “I know where I want to be, where I want to go,” said Naomi, who is considering turning professional at the end of 2008.
Before the championship she also worked hard with ELGA coach Lawrence Farmer and came to the event with just one swing thought. “I used it through the week and it worked. Sometimes I can get too many thoughts in my head!” she laughed.
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