CLECKHEATON professional Warren Lockett says teenager Megan Clarke’s Women’s PGA One Day Series success is helping her feel at home at top-level golf.
The 15-year-old amateur produced a suprise victory in the professional event at Forest Pines thanks to a level-par 74.
It was her third appearance in the competition, having also finished tied sixth at Little Aston and tied fourth at Kedleston Park.
And after gaining confidence that she can hold her own among quality opposition, the England under-16 squad member went one better by finishing top of the leaderboard at the Lincolnshire course.
Lockett said: “Megan has been exposed to this event for a while and, as she has moved up to the higher level, she has begun to feel more at ease.
“She has been playing with bigger and better players and started to feel like she fits in a bit.
“Winning at Forest Pines has come after a solid summer of development.”
Megan was delighted with her victory, which came by a stroke from Sian James and Keely Chiericato.
“I’m really happy,” said the Cleckheaton youngster. “I was a bit scared after the practice round because the course is tighter than I’m used to. I just wanted to play well – and winning was a bonus, I really enjoyed it.”
The WPGA opened up entry to this season’s One Day Series to under-16 and under-18 girls from England Golf’s regional squads to give them the chance to develop their skills in a tournament arena.
The girls have responded in style. Megan is the second player to win following Charlotte West, from Harewood Downs in Buckinghamshire, who took top spot on countback at Chestfield in Kent.
“It’s been a really good experience to play with the professionals and on good courses,” added Megan, who is part of the Yorkshire team who have won through to next month’s county finals to defend the title of England’s champion county.
She was also runner-up in the Yorkshire Girls Championship and winner of the second flight at the Northern Ladies Championship.
The event at Forest Pines took place in windy conditions and the course was playing long after the previous day’s rain.
Megan was two-over par to the turn, but played the back nine in two-under, helped by three birdies.
She said: “On the tenth it started raining really hard and I thought that might be a disaster, but I holed a 12-footer for a birdie four and that started a good back nine.”
She had two birdies in the last four holes, sandwiching her solitary bogey on the homeward half, on the 16th.
Her target as she turned for home was to play to her handicap of three – and she comfortably surpassed that.