Hewson stamps mark on Rose Series Grand Final
Alice Hewson made headlines around the globe in March by not only winning her first tournament as a professional on the Ladies European Tour, but doing it at the South African Open, the last bigtime event contested in the sport before the lockdown.
And now, the 22-year-old rookie from Hertfordshire is threatening to leave the star names in her shade once again after taking a commanding lead after the first round of the three-day Computacenter Grand Final of the Rose Ladies Series.
After missing the first green at North Hants, the Fleet layout where Justin Rose learnt to play as a junior, Hewson hit the next 17 greens in succession. It was a remarkable bogeyless display in windy conditions and her dominance was written all over the scoreboard as the only player under par.
With a four-under 66, Hewson is four clear of her nearest pursuers – Kent’s Sian Evans and Australian Whitney Hillier – with another stroke back to Liz Young and Inci Mehmet in fourth, and a group on two-over, including Georgia Hall and Charley Hull.
“I just played very solidly and struck the ball really well,” Hewson said. “It’s funny, but I played here five years ago in the Hampshire Hog [the elite amateur event] and remembered you should play sensibly and lay up short of the greens and allow it to bounce on. I know I’m quite a few clear, but all I’m going to do is stick to my game plan and play fairways and greens.”
Even with double points on offer, Hewson cannot quite top the American Golf Order of Merit, which comes with a £20,000 bonus for the winner. Hall and Hull are the top two in the standings, with the latter knowing that should she win the tournament proper, then Hall will not be able to stop her scooping the bounty.
However, neither will be satisfied with their 72s, regardless of the severity of the test. Hull was oneunder after five, but then the world
No25 failed up to pick up a single birdie with three bogeys on the sixth, ninth and 17th. In contrast, Hall had a poor start dropping two shots in the first three holes, before battling back to level par – and then bogeying the last two holes.
The second round will be played today at The Berkshire, before Wentworth’s West Course hosts the first professional women’s tournament of its 94-year existence.
Inspired: Alice Hewson chips out of a bunker during her superb round of 66