England’s Gabriella Cowley of West Essex recovered from trouble on several occasions in this year’s Junior Open and finished a strong third place. The tournament is a biennial event that coincides with the British Open.
Asuka Kashiwabara of Japan established herself as a player to watch in the future. Asuka start the tournament fast and never let up. For the tournament, Asuka finished 16 under par and won by 14 strokes. There has never before been a player who dominated the junior women’s event like this.
Disappointing Third Round for Cowley
Italy’s Renato Paratore finished in second place at 2 under par. Cowley was in position to make a big move on Sunday but her start ruled out any chance of victory. Gabriella opened up with three consecutive double bogeys that can be easily attributed to nerves. On the back nine, Cowley birdied 10, 11 and 18 and just one bogey on 14. She was out in 42 and came home at a two under 36.
Cowley is the reigning English U15 and Scottish U16 open champion. She was chosen to represent England in the girls’ Home International in August.
This year’s Junior Open presented heavy weather challenges. Some players were required to halt play on Saturday and then return to the course and complete that round prior to tee time on Sunday. Tournament directors were forced to trim the final day’s play to the top 33 players. They had expected to have a full day’s schedule of 80 players.
Cowley’s first round 74 was forged in difficult weather. She improved with her second round 72 but Gabriella still took a triple bogey in the round. Cowley stamped her mark on the event by playing brilliantly under duress. She is one of the top juniors in terms of recovery.
Hoping Juniors Take up Golf
Organizers are hopeful that Gabriella’s achievements will serve to inspire more junior golf in the UK. The UK PGA is seeking junior members and aspiring teaching professionals and assistant pros for a number of junior developmental programs.
The PGA has supported two educational initiatives through to 3-year programs. One is for participants interested in teaching while the other program addresses the business side of the booming industry.
The PGA in the UK is not the wing of golf that organizes professional touring players. The PGA oversees professional tournaments and keep their members advised about rules changes and new equipment, more of which comes to market throughout the year.
Let’s hope UK junior programs are successful in getting more juniors involved in the game. After all, golf is the game of games.
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