History-making golfer Lydia Hall has been congratulated by the Golf Union of Wales for becoming the first woman to win a PGA national tournament against the men.
Former Ladies European Tour winner Hall has been a Golf Development Wales professional ambassador for women and girls golf this year, so showing she could win the title against all the other club professionals in Wales can only help push that nationwide initiative.
Hall won the PGA’s oldest tournament title in Tenby, becoming the first female winner of the 36 hole event, repelling the challenges of Matthew Tottey of North Wales Golf Club and Thomas Phillips of Hadley Wood in Hertfordshire.
“Lydia has been a great help encouraging women and girls to take up golf as a sport for life, so we are delighted to add our congratulations on this great achievement,” said Golf Union of Wales development director Hannah McAllister.
“She has been a key part of the initiative, thanks to both her track record as a Ladies European Tour winner and also her work as a PGA professional.
“In particular she played a huge part in a recent girls golf clinic at Pyle and Kenfig – hopefully the way she inspired girls to take up the game and improve has also helped to inspire Lydia.”
Hall’s second round three-under-par 67 was the best of the tournament and gave her an overall total of two-under.
Furthermore ,she held her nerve in the closing stages of the Asbri Golf-sponsored event while her closest challengers faltered.
Phillips three-putted the 16th and Tottey spurned the chance of forcing a play-off when he missed a short putt on the 18th. Hall by contrast, unfazed by a rare blip at the 15th, negotiated the last three holes in regulation.
She attributed that to her experiences on the Ladies European Tour, not least winning the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters almost four years ago.
“The experience of nine years on Tour helped me massively,” she said. “I’ve been in this position on Tour – in the final group and leading. So I knew the kind of feeling I’d have, how to keep myself calm, to stay in the present and not think ahead.
“It was quite tight coming down the stretch and I knew I had to get to at least two, maybe three-under. I made a silly bogey on 15 but kept going over the last three holes, so I’m delighted.”
Hall also put her experience of many tussles with the scenic but always challenging course to good effect and added: “I know it very well and it’s a tough course. It can beat you up at times.
“I kept patient and was not too aggressive. But there are some holes on which you need to be aggressive. I’ve played this course for many, many years and kind of knew what the conditions would be like. Even so, you still get nervous in the final round – I missed a couple of short putts yesterday but made up for that today.”
Now, having held her nerve on the course to make PGA history, Hall faces a nervous wait for the outcome of exams that follow a change of direction in her golfing career.
She is attached to Hensol Golf Academy, Mid-Glamorgan, and has just completed her second year as a PGA Assistant.
“I get my year two results on Friday, so fingers crossed,” explained the 28-year-old whose father, Wayne, represented Wales at rugby union.
“Hopefully I can start my third and final year in October. I’m learning a lot and really enjoying it.
“I decided to join the PGA because our tour is growing and growing but we still haven’t got a tournament every single week yet. It gives me an opportunity to teach and I really enjoy that. It also gives me a balance in my life so I don’t have to think all about playing all the time.”
Hall, however, was not the only one savouring victory at Tenby – Peter Evans of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club was crowned the Senior Welsh National Champion after posting a two round total of eight-over-par.