English teenager Jess Baker beat Sweden’s Louise Rydqvist to win the tournament, held at Hunstanton in Norfolk, and earn a place in The Women’s Open and the US Women’s Open among others
Last Updated: 25/06/22 10:10pm
Jess Baker claimed the biggest title of her career and with it a ticket to major championships as she won the 119th Women’s Amateur Championship at Hunstanton.
The 19-year-old defeated Sweden’s Louise Rydqvist 4&3 in the 36-hole Final and will now be able to play in fields she could have only dreamed of going into this week, with appearances in major championships and at Augusta National now on the horizon.
Baker, whose dad was her caddy during her successful sojourn on the Norfolk links, joins an impressive list of past winners including LPGA victor Leona Maguire and major winners Georgia Hall, Catriona Matthew and Anna Nordqvist – last year’s AIG Women’s Open Champion at Carnoustie.
She will compete in this year’s Open at Muirfield as well as the US Women’s Open, The Amundi Evian Championship and receives, by tradition, an invitation to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.
“It’s an amazing feeling, just incredible. I can’t believe it,” Baker said. “I’m absolutely stunned but I’m just so happy. I worked really, really hard to get here and it’s just such a satisfying feeling.
“Yesterday, in particular, was an absolutely dream day. I holed everything and hit it amazing. It all came together yesterday to give me this opportunity. So, yeah, it’s been a long time coming and I’m just really proud of myself. I didn’t do anything special today. I just got ahead and then kept the lead. It was about the person making the least mistakes today.”
Having defeated in-form duo Emilie Alba Paltrinieri and Hannah Darling yesterday, Baker continued her form against Rydqvist to come out on top from a field of 144 players representing 24 countries this week.
The University of Central Florida student had to hole a 25-foot putt just to reach the match play stages, though, so to have gone from that to now being on the cusp of appearing in the majors is something which she still can’t quite believe.
Baker said: “Playing in the AIG Women’s Open is something I’ve really wanted to do for a long time and this means I don’t have to pre-qualify which is great because that was the plan next week.
“And Augusta, oh, my gosh. That’s not really come to my mind yet!”
It’s a reality though now for the Newcastle native, who will now be emulating some of the winners of yesteryear by going on to compete at the very top of the game.
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Source : Sky Sports