Portugal’s Pedro Lencart Silva posted a round of six-under-par 67 to seal a convincing win at the Junior Open at Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club last week.
The 16 year-old started the round two strokes behind Puerto Rica’s Valeria Pacheco but produced a fine performance in the final round to lift the title with an aggregate score of 214, five-under-par.
Pacheco made a slow start to her round and eventually signed for a one-over-par 74 to finish second on level par 219, one ahead of China’s Yifan Ji (72) who was the overnight leader after the first day.
South Korea’s Hyunkyung Park (75) was fourth on two-over 221, one ahead of American Garrett Barber (74) and Argentina’s Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira (75) in a tie for fifth.
The leading group took to the course during excellent conditions and a birdie on the first hole by Lencart Silva set the tone for the day. The Miramar golf club member added another birdie at the fifth to reach the turn on two-under-par.
A run of four birdies in five holes from the 12th was the difference in the end as at one stage Lencart Silva and Pacheco were only separated by one shot.
However, Lencart Silva played his best golf of the week by hitting 17 greens in regulation and converting his birdie opportunities to leave others with little chance of catching him.
The Junior Open title is Lencart Silva’s biggest win to date after he won the Finland Under-16 Championship last year.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Working for Golf, The R&A, said: “It has been a fabulous week and a great conclusion. We had 80 countries represented in the starting field of 143, a record entry. The transformation from the last time the Junior Open was played here at Kilmarnock (Barassie) in 2004 is clear to see; it’s bigger, better and stronger. In my experience, it’s the best Junior Open we’ve ever had.
“For the development of the game the Junior Open does two things. At the top end of the field it allows good young players an opportunity to compete against one another at a venue very close to The Open. It also enables us to connect with some of our smaller countries; it strengthens our link with all the national organisations affiliated with The R&A. The Junior Open is a combination of a successful championship and real golf development.”
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