Maggie Whitehead came within three holes of winning a professional event at the age of 14 as she made her debut in the Rose Ladies Series at The Berkshire Golf Club.
Playing alongside professionals Inci Mehmet and Rachel Drummond, Maggie led the field by three shots after playing her 15th hole. She went on to card a three over-par 72 for a tied-sixth finish and missed the four-way playoff by two shots.
“I really enjoyed every part of the event,” said Maggie. “I first heard about the invitation five days before the event, which didn’t give me a lot of time to build up any nerves. I didn’t have any expectations going in, I just wanted to learn as much as possible, play my best golf and enjoy it.
“I felt very welcome, the professionals were all lovely, and they offered loads of advice and helped me a lot in my first event with them.
“I first realised where I was in the tournament after the 12th hole. I saw the leaderboard with my name at the top and it was a bit of a shock, but I didn’t panic and stuck to the plan. I played 15 knowing I was tied first and although 16 went a little downhill, I didn’t let it affect me too much.
“Even finihing tied sixth at three over-par, I wasn’t upset. Having that first experience in the bag means I can learn from it whenever I need it.”
Following her debut alongside some of the best female professionals and amateurs in the UK, Maggie will play a busy summer schedule of girls’ and women’s events around the UK and overseas as part of the England Girls’ squad. She added: “I learned so much. I’ll take away what it felt like to see my name at the top of the leaderboard and the excitement of being in contention. I also learned a lot from watching the professionals – they kept their emotions really level and you couldn’t tell if they’d played a good hole or a bad one. I also got loads of advice from Inci and Rachel, and the other professionals who made me feel so welcome and offered so much support.
“I’ve got some exams coming up and then it’s quite a busy summer. If Covid allows, I’m looking forward to travelling with England for away matches and some of the team events later this year.”
The Rose Ladies Series event was won by Gabriella Cowley – who outlasted Alice Hewson, Becky Brewerton and Whitney Hillier in a sudden death playoff to collect the £10,000 winner’s cheque.