Some of the UK’s most prodigious young talents showcased their skills at the Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship at Quinta do Lago in Portugal last week.
A dozen players in each category took to the resort’s South Course – the first major event hosted on the layout since it underwent a €7 million renovation project last year.
Despite threats of a late comeback from a number of high-quality opponents, 17-year-olds Dylan Shaw-Radford and Sophia Fullbrook – who had led their respective tables heading into the final round – managed to hold on for victory.
Fullbrook, a member of the Melbourne Club at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, had established a strong lead after two rounds and held her nerve to win by two strokes. Shaw-Radford, from Huddersfield Golf Club, also won by two, demonstrating remarkable consistency with scores of 69, 69 and 70.
Over 17,000 entrants were narrowed down through qualifying to the 24 finalists, including reigning boys’ champion Harley Smith. With a plethora of experienced competitors in the field, it came as no surprise that both Fullbrook and Shaw-Radford needed to keep their focus until the final hole to ensure their respective victories in the Algarve.
Seventeen-year-old Jack Lee, of Rochester & Cobham Park, came closest to knocking Shaw-Radford from his perch with an exceptional round of 68 on the second day. Meanwhile, the finest individual performance of the tournament came from 15-year-old Amelia Wan from Nottinghamshire. Her stunning opening round of 65 – seven-under-par on the par-72 layout – made her the early favourite to top the girls’ division. However, the class of Fullbrook and second-placed Rebekah Gardner, of Clandeboye, eventually told and saw Wan slip to third.
Shaw-Radford said: “This means a great deal. Just look down the names who have won it – Justin Rose himself, Andrew Coltart and a fellow Yorkshireman in Matt Fiztpatrick, ten years ago. What a way to finish 2022.”
Fullbrook added: “I guess we both held commanding leads today and only made sure of it on the 18th, but that is testament to the strength of the fields. I am very pleased, as well as being relieved, and I am sure Dylan is, too.”
The Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, is open to any golfer aged 18 or under at the turn of each year. Quinta do Lago is regularly entrusted with hosting duties, having staged the event six times in eight years.