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Woad at the double as Order of Merit winners are determined

Lottie Woad has won both the girls’ and the women’s England Golf Order of Merit titles for 2021.

The 17-year-old from Farnham Golf Club in Surrey is one of five golfers to win Order of Merit honours for the season just finished.

Also topping the 2021 lists in their respective categories were Sam Bairstow (men), Jack Bigham (boys), Rupert Kellock (senior men) and Fiona Edmond (senior women)

The six Orders of Merit are decided by a points system based on performances in key regional, national and UK-wide events staged during the 2021 season.

Woad’s excellent season saw her pick up points in both junior and women’s events and match the feat of Lily May Humphreys from 2019 when she also enjoyed success in both categories.

Humphreys has since turned pro and has recently earned full playing rights on the LET for 2022.

Woad’s victories in 2021 included the Welsh Ladies’ Open Stroke Play, the Liphook Scratch Cup and the Critchley Salver.

The England girls' squad member said: “Although you never set out at the start of a season thinking about Order of Merit titles, it’s brilliant to win them because it shows that your game has been consistently good over the course of the year.

“It’s also special for me to win both titles at a point in my development when I’m trying to combine playing in junior as well as women’s events.

“As I look to take the next step in my career, play more women’s events at home and abroad and prepare to go to college in America in 2022 it is re-assuring for me to know that I can compete at different age groups with some success.

“Winning the Welsh Ladies’ Open Stroke Play title this year was a highlight for me – playing consistently is one thing but it’s always special getting over the line to win a national title.

“As well as continuing to play a mixture of girls’ and women’s events in 2022, I look forward to getting the chance to compete in events abroad that hopefully will once again be a regular feature of the schedule.”

Bairstow’s Order of Merit triumph came after a season in which the Yorkshireman won his biggest career title – the Brabazon Trophy.

On top of that win at Ganton, the lefty from Hallowes Golf Club also enjoyed strong runs at both The R&A Amateur Championship at Nairn and the English Men’s Amateur Championship at Moortown and Headingley golf clubs.

Bairstow, who also won through qualifying to play at the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club, said: “The past year has seen me achieve a lot of my amateur career goals.

“To end the season with an Order of Merit title is an extra bonus.

“Winning the Brabazon, responding under pressure and playing the level of golf I did that week was a highlight for me.

“Although not linked directly to the Order of Merit, the Open experience is something that I will also treasure forever and was something I was able to put to good use in Order of Merit events that followed.”

Harpenden’s Jack Bigham was the winner of the boys’ title following a season which saw him crowned as The R&A Boys’ Amateur champion.

A member of the England boys’ squad during 2021 and named last week in the men’s squad for the coming season, Bigham said: “I had a consistently good year and didn’t miss a cut so this title is some reward for that.

“It is nice to sign off from boys’ golf with this trophy.

“Winning The R&A Boys’ title was a real highlight – it was a long and tough week and to come through as a winner was reward for a lot of hard work.”

Rupert Kellock’s feat in retaining his crown as the English Senior Men’s Amateur Stroke Play champion helped him to finish 2021 as the leading light in his particular category.

The Sunningdale golfer was thrilled to take top spot and said: “At the start of every season I start out with three main goals – to win the British Seniors, to win a national title and to ensure I finish high enough up in the Order of Merit to be selected for England teams.

“To then win the English Senior Men’s Stroke Play and the Order of Merit is a reflection of consistently good play over the course of a season.

“I was actually a little disappointed not to win more events in 2021 as I had chances, but that can act as a spur for next season. There’s lots more to come with a programme of hard work over the winter.”

Fiona Edmond’s comeback was complete when she won the English Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Market Rasen Golf Club in July for a second time.

The Suffolk golfer had struggled for three years with niggling injuries and admitted her win was unthinkable during the dark days of rehab.

After also claiming the Order of Merit title, the golfer from Aldeburgh said: “For me the most important thing in 2021 has been staying injury-free.

“I’ve not been pain-free, but I was able to manage my body and get back into the habit of playing and, thankfully, winning at national level again.

“With more practice over the winter I hope that I will be at the stage in 2022 when I no longer worry about injury again.”

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