US police have charged a man with the alleged murder of Celia Barquín, the Spanish golfer and reigning European women’s champion, a day after her body was discovered on an Iowa golf course.
Barquín, 22, was found dead on Monday on the Coldwater course in Ames after other golfers spotted her abandoned bag and alerted club management.
The suspect, named as 22-year-old local man Collin Daniel Richards, is accused of first degree murder. Police said that Barquín had died in an “assault” and her body found a “certain distance” from her golf bag, though the cause of death has yet to be determined.
A young star of the golf world, Barquín was studying at and playing for Iowa State University, which recently named her its sportswoman of 2018. As well as taking the European amateur women’s title, she also won the US Big 12 Championship this year.
The death of Barquín drew an outpouring of tributes and condolences on both sides of the Atlantic. At Iowa State, Christie Martens, the head women’s golf coach, said the team was “devastated” at the loss of a “beautiful person”, while the president of the university, Dr Wendy Wintersteen, lamented the “tragic and senseless loss of a talented young woman and an acclaimed student athlete”.
Alejandro Blanco, the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, wrote on Twitter: “We are profoundly shocked by the tragedy in the United States. All our support and solidarity is with the family of Celia Barquín and the Spanish golfing world at this difficult moment.”
Described by the Royal Spanish Golf Federation as an “outstanding team player” who had also achieved “great individual success”, Barquín had qualified for the US professional women’s open this year and for the British professional women’s open in 2019.
Nacho Gervás, technical director of the Spanish Golf Federation, told the newspaper El País: "She was a player who was heading for the very top, without a doubt."
The police investigation remains open.
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