Cornish golfer Emily Toy is celebrating the biggest achievement of her fledgling sporting career.

Twenty-one-year-old Toy, from Longdowns, won the Women's British Amateur title at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland on Saturday – the highest honour in the European amateur game.

Despite a five-over-par first round that left her in 59th, Toy replied with a two-under second round to propel her up to 18th on the leaderboard after the two stroke play rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, comfortably qualifying for the match play stages inside the top 64.

She followed that up with four match play victories over Thursday and Friday to book her place in the last four on Saturday, when she defeated Linn Grant of Sweden to reach the final.

New Zealand's Amelia Garvey led three times in the final but was pegged back by Toy each time. A birdie on the 17th hole put her in front for the first time, with a par on the 18th enough to seal the title.

"It's such a big tournament, one of the biggest – if not the biggest – amateur tournament that we have," Toy said.

"I kind of went into it having not much expectation, I missed the cut last year and I went in and played every round as it came really, and obviously to win was just amazing."

The win continues what has been a great season for the University of Exeter student, after a string of top-20 finishes for the England Golf mixed squad on their Australia tour in January, winning the women’s New South Wales 36-hole championship along the way.

Those results gave her world ranking a sizeable jump from outside the top 800 to 450, which proved crucial in qualifying for last week's tournament, after a recent rule change opted to permit entrants on rank rather than handicap.

Her ranking is set to rise even further after Saturday's win.

Toy said: "If I hadn't have gone to Australia I would have been very much touch-and-go as to whether or not I actually would have made it, so a big thanks to England for sending me out there!"

Toy, who plays at Carlyon Bay Golf club near St Austell, is the first English winner of the tournament since Georgia Hall did so in 2013. Hall turned professional the following year and won the Women's British Open last year – one of the five majors in the women's game.

"I haven't had much time to let it sink in but yeah there's some huge names on the trophy already that have gone on to have really successful professional careers, and I'm really pleased and proud to join them on the trophy," Toy said.

Hall will defend her British Open title at Woburn Golf Club from August 1-4. and Toy will also be there after Saturday's victory sealed her place in the tournament.

She will also now appear in next year's Women's US Open and Evian Championship majors, as well as the new Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship.

Toy has also been included in the Great Britain and Ireland Vagliano Trophy team of eight for the biennial match against Continental Europe in Kent next weekend.

"It's been quite overwhelming to get things sorted for that event and get my schedule back together because this obviously changes things," Toy said.

"It is huge to get into these events. I'm going to really look forward to it and it's a great opportunity, so I'm looking forward to going out there and playing in those events."