Teenager Kirsty Beckwith showed her putting prowess by defeating 23 regional finalists in the ultimate putting showdown – the Grand Final of Golf Monthly/Odyssey‘s Britain’s Best Putter 2012.
The 15-year-old from Moortown Golf Club in Leeds was the star of the show on the smooth, fast putting green at The Grove Golf Club, which hosted the Grand Final of Britain’s Best Putter over the weekend.
Like her 23 fellow competitors, Kirsty had secured her spot in the Grand Final by being one of four players to qualify from a regional final, in her case the Rockliffe Hall event in the North East. The other regional finals had been held at Formby Hall (North West), The Belfry (Midlands), Gleneagles (Scotland), Saunton (South West) and Stoke Park (South East), throughout the summer.
The format for the Grand Final was the same as each regional final. The competitors had to prove their putting competence by completing a 36-hole strokeplay qualifier competition, with the Top 16 scorers going through to a matchplay knock-out tournament.
Dan Toogood, from Mendip Springs Golf Club, was the leading qualifier, with his fantastic score of three-under par 69, but was knocked out in a very close first round match by bottom seed Luke Burrows from Cosby Golf Club. In fact the majority of matches were extremely close, with most reaching the 16th hole or beyond and several matches going into a sudden death play-off situation.
Such was the case for the eventual winner Kirsty Beckwith who won her first round on the 20th hole and her second round on the 19th hole. On paper, the final was always going to be a close match with both Kirsty and her opponent David Baren, the Club Captain at Bentham Golf Club, playing off a handicap of 4.
Kirsty had a hot putting streak on the front nine holes, sinking three single putts in a row to take a decisive three-up lead through the turn, but David fought back and squared the match with a barrage of single putts which meant that after 18 holes they were all-square and had to go to sudden-death.
Once again it was the young teenager Kirsty who showed youthful confidence and stepped up with nerves of steel to hole a critical 10-foot putt at the first play-off hole to seal the victory.
“This is the biggest golf event I have ever won,” said the delighted champion. “I only took golf up three years ago but I won the Abraham Trophy for the most improved lady golfer in England last year and now I have the Britain’s Best Putter trophy to sit alongside it!
“I came here today with no expectations at all. I just wanted to have fun and see how well I could putt. I felt really confident on the greens all day and holed a lot of putts but I started to feel the pressure in the final on the closing holes.
“I felt really nervous over that last putt – I was just relieved to see it drop. I’m very excited to take the Britain’s Best Putter trophy home to my club, Moortown and show all the members.”
Along with the crown of Britain’s Best Putter, Kirsty won a fantastic week’s holiday for two to the Las Colinas Golf & Country Club in Spain. “The hard part will be deciding who to take, Mum or Dad,” Kirsty joked!
Runner-up David Baren was presented with a crystal trophy and bottle of champagne along with defeated semi-finalists Stuart King from Hindhead Golf Club and Alan Wilson from Craigie Hill Golf Club, who played a consolation match to determine the third-place finisher. Like the two finalists, they too had to putt-off at the 19th for the prize, and it was Stuart King who stepped up and holed the putt.
“It really has been a fantastic day,” commented Stuart. “What a great competition format. The beauty of putting is that every golfer can compete on a level, no matter what their handicap, age or gender. And so it proved with the range of finalists here today from seniors to juniors. I’d like to thank everyone involved in making Britain’s Best Putter a success and I can’t wait to take part again next year.”
Thanks go to The Grove for hosting a fantastic Grand Final, where even the competitors who didn’t qualify through to the matchplay knock-out left with a smile on their face after having a very memorable day.
Sponsors Odyssey provided a great show – in the morning competitors watched as Elite Golf Coach and Odyssey Ambassador Dan Frost demonstrated a selection of putting drills and tips for the greens with the help of Sky Sports presenter Rob Lee.
Then at lunchtime competitors were treated to the ultimate display by World Long Drive Champion Joe Miller who demonstrated how every club in the bag can be hit out of sight, even the putter!