Girls U16 Amateur

Landgraf denies Naughton in a dramatic play-off

The R&A
28 Apr 24
3 mins
It remains to be seen if France’s Louise Landgraf realises her childhood dream of a successful professional career. One thing’s certain: she certainly left her mark on the R&A Girls’ U16 Amateur Championship around the Berkshire Golf Club’s Red Course.  So did England’s Charlotte Naughton.  Landgraf needed a play-off to see off Naughton, taking the Angela Uzielli Trophy with a par at the second play-off hole, the par-5 opening hole, after they tied on eight-under-par 211. The pair set a new 54-hole championship record, bettering the six-under-par mark Italy’s Francesca Fiorellini recorded to win the 2019 title.  The French player lived up to her billing as the top ranked player in the field at 134th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®). She joins the likes of Fiorellini and inaugural winner (2018) Hannah Darling as champions. But it was anything but easy. “My voice is a bit shaky now because I had a lot of adrenaline and nerves today,” Landgraf said. “I didn’t have my best golf so I just tried to stay as calm as possible. Charlotte played really well and I knew she was getting closer to me all the time.”

Five-shot lead

Holding a five-shot lead over Naughton and Ireland’s Olivia Costello heading into the final round, 15-year-old Landgraf added a closing one-over-par 74 to earlier rounds of 68 and 69. She becomes the sixth winner of the popular 54-hole stroke play championship, which was making its debut at The Berkshire.  Landgraf still had a three-shot lead over Naughton with four holes to play but bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes. Naughton then birdied the 18th to shoot 69, 3 under, to force the play-off. However, the English player three-putted the extra hole while Landgraf two-putted. Costello finished third, three shots out of the play-off.
Twelve-year-old Sabrina Wong won the Liz Pook Trophy which goes to the leading under-14 player. 

A good battle

“It was a good battle and I had a lot of nerves just looking at the leaderboard all day,” said Landgraf. “I’ve always wanted to play in Britain. I wanted to win, but I’ve never played on a course like this and didn’t know what the conditions were going to be like."  Landgraf, who lives in Thailand but claims French citizenship from her father, added, “I’m just so proud of myself to win this great tournament. It feels great to be called the R&A Girls’ Under 16 champion. “I think this win is going to motivate me for the rest of the year. I’m just so proud of myself because of all the work I’ve put in. It’s been a great experience playing this great golf course and managing myself in these conditions.” Landgraf warmed up for this championship by finishing 17th among the professionals in the Terre Blanche Ladies Open on the LET Access Series. The precocious teenager was defending her 2023 Terre Blanche victory, which she won as a 14 year old to become the youngest winner of a women’s professional tournament.  

Debut appearance

However, she’ll remember this win for the rest of her life considering it was her debut appearance in the United Kingdom. No wonder she couldn’t stop using the word “proud” in her post championship interview. Landgraf excelled at The Berkshire with a record number of countries represented (22) in the 80-player field, including players from Cyprus, Iceland, India, the UAE and Hong Kong, China. She succeeds Germany’s Antonia Steiner as champion, who also needed a play-off to take the title last year.  Credit for getting the tournament finished goes to the Berkshire Golf Club’s green staff. Heavy overnight rain saturated the golf course, flooding some greens and leaving multiple puddles on fairways.  Berkshire course manager Ian Morrison and his greenkeeping team did an excellent job getting the course in shape to host the world’s best under-16s. The greenkeeping team did such a sterling early morning job, that the course was back to its imperious best by the time the first group teed off at 8am.

12-year-old takes Liz Pook Trophy

Twelve-year-old Sabrina Wong won the Liz Pook Trophy which goes to the leading under-14 player. The Hong Kong native finished joint ninth on level par. Landgraf, Naughton, Costello and French player Lea Giron gain exemptions into the Girls’ Amateur Championship at Alwoodley Golf Club in August as the Championship’s top four players.  The R&A Girls’ U16 Amateur Championship was introduced in 2018 as part of The R&A’s drive to boost the girls’ game in Great Britain and Ireland and beyond, as well as to provide a pathway to the elite amateur level for leading young players. The Berkshire is the latest venue to stage the tournament along with Fulford and Enville Golf Clubs. The trophy won by Landgraf is named after the late wife of John Uzielli, Past Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Angela was a decorated amateur golfer, including representing Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup in 1978. View scoring from the R&A Girls' U16 Amateur Championship