Monday, January 09, 2017


Annabel Fuller, runner-up at 14 in 'Harder Hall,' could be another Charley Hull!


Annabell Fuller's performance in finishing second yesterday at the age of 14 in the Harder Hall Women's Invitational at Sebring, Florida (scroll down for all the final totals) is arguably the best performance by an English girl in the event since Charley Hull was the winner in 2012?

Annabell Fuller
Is Annabell, pictured, another Charley Hull in the making? Only time will tell but the Roehampton Golf Club junior member did win last year's Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters' girls title by more than TEN strokes and is obviously an outstanding prospect.

Even this early, Miss Fuller's name must be pencilled in for the Great Britain and Ireland squad of six for the Under-16s Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Bogogno Golf Club, near Milan in Italy in June.

And if she produces another classy performance before then she might even make it into the women's Vagliano Trophy team of eight.

Annabell does not have her 15th birthday until May but Tiger Woods was only 15 when he won the United States men's amateur championship. If a player is good enough, then he/she is old enough.

Home-state American Emmy Martin made almost all the running to win the 2017 Harder Hall with rounds of 72, 71, 69 and 74 for a two-under-par aggregate of 286, the only sub-par total.

Annabell finished five strokes behind in second place with scores of 74, 71, 73 and 73 for three-over-par 291. The scores went up generally for the final round played mostly in heavy rain and Annabell's 73 was the third best score of the day, only a shot behind a couple of 72s.

Her father Ashley Fuller commented:"

"Annabell played extremely well, especially as it absolutely chucked it down for ten holes!

"We were not part of the England squad out there in Florida as it was the ladies' squad only. Both my girls, Sammy (who is 17) and Annabell, are members of the girls' squad, but obviously wanted to perform well against the other English players and in front of Rebecca Hembrough.

"Sadly, Sammy had an emergency operation on her tonsils while we were in Florida so she couldn't play.

"Annabell's plan all week was to play very aggressively and try to bully the course as she knew she was one of the longest players in the field.

"It all went to plan as she struck the ball beautifully. The only problem was the putts didn't drop! So often so close.

In the final round Annabell's aim was to go for it and be totally committed to her aggressive game plan.

"She was six shots behind the leader, Emmy Martin, at the start of last day's play but she knew she was much longer and could put pressure on her. For the first eight hole it worked with Annabell reaching the par 5s in two and clawing back two stokes against a very steady player.

"Then the weather changed and the heavens opened. It was then all about getting the ball around the course without making mistakes which Annabell did brilliantly, but so did her opponent! It was great experience!

"Annabell's aim for 2017 is to qualify for this year's Junior Vagliano team as well as the European Young Masters and England's Team for the European Team Championships."

Apart from Miss Fuller, two other English players finished in the top 15 at Harder Hall Golf and Country Club.

British women's amateur stroke-play champion Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe) finished tied 10th on 302 with rounds of 75, 75, 76 and 76.

Georgia Price (Bude and North Cornwell) totalled 304 and earned a T15 finish with scores of 75, 79, 72 and 78.

Louisa Brunt (Royal Birkdale) (80-78-83-79) and twice Scottish women's open amateur stroke play champion Olivia Winning (Rotherham) (83-78-79-80) finished joint 46th on 320.

The only sad note about the tournament was the disqualification of Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest) who was in the leading 10 when she realised she had signed for a wrong lower figure at one hole in the third round and, of her own accord, went to the tournament rules committee to point out her mistake, knowing that it would mean automatic disqualification.

Full marks to Gemma for such honesty with so much at stake.