A HYDE-BORN golfer has hailed the impact her home town had in helping her go close to the biggest prize in women’s amateur golf.
Amelia Garvey may sound a dyed-in-the-wool Kiwi but Tameside is where she comes from, even though the 19-year-old’s globe trotting has taken her to America where she studies at the prestigious University of Southern California.
And she came back to her roots to tune up for the British Amateur Championship in which she finished runner-up at the Royal County Down course in Northern Ireland.
The preparations certainly worked – not least as the hilltop setting meant she knew how to play in the wind – as Amelia reached the final.
Ranked 200th in the world in the women’s amateur game, she took the lead at the fifth hole against Emily Toy made bogey in the matchplay format contest.
But her English rival birdied the next hole to draw level before Amelia was handed the lead at the 11th.
However, she bogeyed the 14th and Toy gained the crucial advantage when she made a 20 foot birdie putt on 17 and held her nerve on the last hole.
Despite missing out, Amelia, who moved when parents Lee and Beverley emigrated to Christchurch when she was five years old, was delighted with her performance and what Werneth Low did for her.
Amelia, pictured left with her runners-up trophy, said: “I came over for a couple of weeks before heading to Northern Ireland for the tournament and it was great, both to be back home among family but also to play the course.
“And it definitely helped me prepare for the conditions. I think we had four seasons in one day at Royal County Down! It was crazy and definitely not what I expected.
“I definitely went into the tournament to win it as I’ve had a really good season at college this year. So it wasn’t really a big surprise to reach the final but it was great to get there as the British Amateur is such a tough tournament.
“The final was pretty close but I gave her the advantage on the 17th and she didn’t slip up.”
Amelia, cousin of Werneth Low’s head professional Jamie Tipper, has been back to Hyde before on holiday but this trip was strictly business.
And the course, where she passed on the benefit of her expertise to the club’s junior members, certainly made its mark, in a good way.
She added: “I came back three-and-a-half years ago and when I do, I always try to play the course when I can but I had never really got to do it before.
“It was amazing to play it, the club was so supportive when I was here and I got one or two rounds in.”
Jamie, the eldest of the cousins while Amelia is the youngest, was present in Northern Ireland to cheer her on and praised her achievements.
He said: “I’m very proud – both on a personal and a club level – of what she did and the role the club played in helping her prepare was huge.
“It was quite windy at Royal County Down – well it can get quite windy at Werneth Low too.”
Amelia has a packed schedule ahead of her.
Her next action sees her take part in the North and South Amateur at America’s prestigious Pinehurst course from July 13-19.