SARAH Walton admitted she was "gobsmacked'' after beating an international star-studded field to win the Ladies' British Mid-Amateur Golf Champion-ships.
The event is open to players over 25 and Sarah, 26, entered just to get a taste of her first major tournament. "I never expected to win it," said the shocked Accrington Golf Club member who works for the Royal Mail. I only entered it because it was local - at Royal Liverpool GC - and it was my first British championships. I decided, because I have been playing for Lancashire for two years, that I should take a step up.
"I play off a handicap of four - although since the championships it has gone down to three - and there were players playing off plus four.
"I was just hoping for a top 10 finish and to play within my handicap as the Danes and Canadian players are of a high calibre and some of the British contenders have played for England."
It was tough as her first round of 81 in windy conditions looked to have put her out of contention. However, she came back with two level par rounds of 74 which led to a sudden death play-off with Dane Stinne Thoresen.
Sarah, whose past achievements have been winning the East Lancs Scratch Trophy twice and semi-finalist and quarter-finalist in the Lancashire Champion-ships, held her nerve.
She said: "It was so tense in the play-off. "We both birdied the first extra hole and I birdied the second while she bogied it. I couldn't believe that I had won - I was gobsmacked.
She continued: "I don't have much time to practise as I work full-time. It has only just started to sink in but it is good for the club and for me. It has been a huge boost and if I never win anything again, no-one can take this away from me. I can't believe I am a British champion."