Berkhamsted amateur golfer Alice Hewson got the chance of a lifetime to compete in the British Open last week after a big European win in the days leading up to event ensured her qualification.
The 21-year-old is enjoying a remarkable year of first-time achievements and it got even better after qualifying for the Open.
Although she missed the cut at the Open, just getting to the tournament at Woburn GC represented a huge milestone.
She finished eight-over-par after registering a +3 score of 75 in the first round last Thursday and +5 second-round score of 77 last Friday.
The previous weekend had seen Hewson come from seven shots back to take the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship title at Parkstone GC in Dorset.
She lifted the trophy after a play-off, which was good enough to earn her a place in the Open – one of global women’s golf’s four Majors.
It was the first time she had played in the UK’s most prestigious women’s golf event and she was one of only nine amateurs in the 148-strong field.
Hewson, who attends Clemson University in South Carolina where she has set numerous college records, is a member of Berkhamsted GC, where she has played since being a junior.
She said: “It was my first Major and being so close to home made it even more special. I was absolutely thrilled to have won the European Ladies’ Amateur Championships and the final day is definitely one I will remember forever.”
On her Instagram social media account, Hewson went on to thank caddy Stephen Smith, coach Rob Watts and her family.
Earlier this year, Hewson made history when she became the first Englishwoman to play a competitive round at the exclusive Augusta National GC in Georgia, home of The Masters.
She completed that feat after qualifying for the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament and finished in a creditable 10th place in a field of 72 world-class amateurs.
Hewson has also become a firm fixture in the England set-up. She first came to the notice of England selectors as a ten-year old and in 2011 became the England under-13s champion.
The following year she entered the England Golf regional coaching scheme, while developing her game as a junior at Berkhamsted GC and studying at Berkhamsted School, where her mum Michelle is a swimming coach.
Hewson has now represented England at senior level several times and has played for Great Britain and Ireland twice in The Curtis Cup – the female amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup.
She intends to turn pro later this year, with her sights set on competing on the Ladies’ European Tour and the LPGA Tour in America.
Berkhamsted GC’s club manager Howard Craft said before the Open: “We will all be rooting for Alice.
“Many of our members will be supporting her at the tournament itself and many more will be glued to the TV.”
Another young Berkhamsted golfer, Hannah Screen, narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Open by a single shot in the final qualifying event last Monday.
The 19-year-old is also an England international and another who has developed her game while on a golf scholarship at university in the USA.