The Men

Nathan SmithNathan Smith gave himself an excellent chance of a repeat appearance in the US Walker Cup team with victory in the Sunnehanna Amateur Championship.

For the two-time, defending US Mid-Amateur champion, it was a far cry from his first visit to the Sunnehanna.

Smith turned up at 17 years ago as a high school student and did not cover himself in glory. "I finished last - and by a landslide," he said.

Smith was in no danger of finishing last this year, but he didn't look like winning heading into the final round. The 32-year-old trailed Will Collins by five shots, but returned a four-under-par 66 to find himself in a four-hole playoff with Lee Bedford and Zac Blair.

Smith got his hands on one of the most sought after trophies in US amateur golf, after playing the four holes in two under par.

"I fought as hard as I could all day, just trying to hang in there," said Smith. "I had some breaks go my way, but that's just golf. You can't back into wins anymore with the way the young guys play the game. You have to go get it, or they will."

Smith moves into the World Amateur Golf Ranking top 100 in 98th place, an improvement of 62 spots. Bedford moves to 50th in the world, improving his status by 12 places. Blair joins Smith in the top 100, moving 57 places to 82nd.

The US retained the Palmer Cup with a 13-11 victory at The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. The US now has an 8-6-1 lead in the series.

High School student Jordan Spieth moves into the WAGR top ten in 6th place, having finished 32nd in the HP Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA Tour. The Dallas resident improves his world status by five places.



The Women

England's Lauren Taylor makes a quantum leap on this week's Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking after the biggest win of her young life.

The 16-year-old from Woburn, Ian Poulter's home club, won the Ladies British Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush after a resounding 6&5 victory over France's Alexandra Bonetti. Taylor raced to a five-hole lead after six holes and never looked back. She made six birdies in 13 holes of the scheduled 18-hole final.

Taylor had a tough draw to reach the final. She overcame world number two Cecilia Cho of New Zealand in round two, and then needed 20 holes in the semi-final to take care of England's Kelly Tidy, the defending champion.

With father Martin caddying for her, the precocious teenager turned up in Northern Ireland with a change in attitude.

"I told my dad that we were both going to relax this week, because I usually try too hard in the big championships and let myself down," Taylor said. "I play my best golf when I am stress free.

"That helped me a lot. I was nervous a lot of times, especially in the closing stages against Kelly, but I tried not to let it affect my game. I didn't think I could play so well day after day like that. Nobody was more surprised than me."

Taylor becomes the youngest winner of the Ladies British Amateur, breaking a record that had stood for 112 years. May Hezlett won the 1899 championship when she was 17 years and 13 days.

Taylor jumps into the world top 40 as a result, moving 229 places to number 38.

Bonetti breaks into the top 30 to 28th, an improvement of 35 places, while Tidy enters the top 100 in 65th place from 143rd.

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