Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
Derbyshire golfers Sian Mansey and Carol Simpson came through one of the closest-ever finals to become the PING Fourball Betterball Plate champions of 2014.
They were one of four pairs who tied on 41 points at Gainsborough Golf Club in Lincolnshire, but they saw off their opposition thanks to their excellent back nine, which earned them 21 points.
“I'm overwhelmed, absolutely thrilled to bits” said Sian, while Carol added: “It's been a fantastic day.” The pair, from Horsley Lodge Golf Club came through an initial entry of about 16,000 women from over 900 clubs, which is a tournament record. The top 60 pairs in the country qualified for tomorrow's Grand Final while the next 60 pairs went through to today's Plate Final.
A dry, sunny day created ideal conditions for scoring and the players, who received three-quarters handicap, responded in style and created a tightly packed leaderboard.
A series of countbacks were needed to decide the first four spots with second place going to Mary MacLaren and Carol Gibbs of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. The MacLaren family are enjoying a successful year: Mary, an Irish senior, has already won an England Golf senior regional event, and her daughter, Meghan, is the new British stroke play champion.
Third place was taken by Jill Gambling and Kim Wellman of West Malling, Kent; while Cath Oxley and Jaci Fennon of Ryton, near Newcastle, were fourth.
More countbacks were required to decide the remaining two pairs of prizewinners, who both had 40 points. Rosemary Wadmore and Jane Harper of Windermere were fifth, pipping Caroline Gard and Michelle Lawton of Frinton, Essex who in turn knocked out another pair.
Winners Sian and Carol have forged their successful partnership since being called up to play for Derbyshire four years ago, turning out mostly for the second team, with occasional outings for the first. They were paired together – and hit it off, becoming firm friends and successful golfing partners, with a string of open meeting successes to their credit.
However the pair, who both play off six handicap, had few expectations today. “I'm just back from holiday and we got here late last night,” said Sian. “We came for a nice day out at the end of the season. Carol played out of her skin and I came in when needed.”
They didn't have time to play the course but it didn't matter – they went round in a betterball score of level par, with a display of classy putting.
“It's just been a fantastic day, we had a great welcome, everyone we spoke to has been courteous and kind and helpful, the course was in excellent condition and we really enjoyed the greens,” said Sian.
Her comments were echoed over and again by the other competitors, who relished the blend of sociable and competitive golf. This is the ninth year of the competition and the players have embraced the event, with most pairs turning out in their club colours.
The competitors included a mother and daughter – and a pair who combined the names of Duck and Mallard!
English women's mid-amateur champion Sammie Giles kept her good form going to win the Liphook Scratch Cup by the narrowest of margins.
The Cornwall player pipped girl international Sophie Keech on count-back after they tied on two-under par at the end of the 36-hole event on the Hampshire course.
Sammie, 19, (St Mellion) was playing in the event for the fourth time, took the trophy by virtue of her second round score of two-under 70. Third place went to Surrey's Lauren Horsford who had the low score of the day with her first round 69 and finished two ahead of Carolyn Walley of Leicestershire. Fourteen-year-old England international Hollie Muse finished fifth.
England shared eighth place in the 2014 Women's World Amateur Team Championship in Japan – with Bronte Law tying for third place in the individual table.
The team, of Bronte Law (Bramhall), Hayley Davis (Ferndown) and Gabriella Cowley (Hanbury Manor), finished the 72-hole tournament on 14-under par and tied with the hosts, Japan.
The championship was won by Australia who came from seven shots behind to overtake Canada and win the Espirito Santo Trophy for the third time. They finished on 29-under and were two clear of the field.
Bronte Law, the English amateur champion, led the England scoring and was 14-under on her own account. Her score of 274 matched the previous championship record, which was bettered this year by five shots by Canada's Brooke Henderson.
This is the team's best finish since 2008, when England were seventh. Rebecca Wood, the England Golf Women's Performance Manager, said: “The team displayed world-class work ethic and effort in preparation and competition this week. This is the best finish England have had since 2008 and we have beaten some very strong nations.
“Bronte's finish of tied third individually is an excellent performance and we are delighted for her.
“Looking forward, a big focus is still going to remain on the short game, in particular holing out and wedge play.
“There is also a clear message that foreign players have become athletes and are hitting the ball greater distances. More and more nations are investing in their performance programmes and the successful players are maximising their opportunities, are very disciplined in their approach and have great attitudes to becoming successful.
“England Golf will be striving to improve all these aspects and look forward to challenging for medals in Mexico in 2016.”
The England senior ladies' team beat France at the weekend to be crowned champions of Europe for the first time.
They triumphed by winning 3½-1½ in the final of the European senior ladies' team championship at Gut Altentann Golf Club in Austria.
“The team stuck to their game plans and played their hearts out to win the gold medal,” said team captain Pat Wrightson.
Fittingly, Chris Quinn helped to deliver the winning point, securing it with a tremendous fightback in the foursomes in partnership with Lulu Housman.
England has been represented in this championship in eight of the nine years it has taken place – and Chris has played in every team. During that time she's amassed three silver medals and two bronzes, but the gold has eluded her until now.
However, at one stage, a foursomes win looked extremely unlikely. The pair were five down after nine holes – but in an amazing turnaround they won the next seven holes, before clinching their win with a par on the 17th.
Earlier, English senior stroke play champion Cath Rawthore and Somerset's Amanda Mayne had both scored big singles win to take England to the brink of victory. Cath won 5/4, holing a number of key putts, while Amanda was solid throughout her match and won 6/4.
Debbie Richards also played solid golf but met a French player on the top of her game and lost to sub-par golf. The match of Julie Brown, the English senior champion, was deemed halved when the overall outcome was decided. At the time, she was on the 17th tee, one down in a very tight match having lost the 15th to a birdie.
Ireland, who were the 2013 champions, beat Sweden in the play-off for third place and won the bronze medal.
Chris Quinn (Hockley) and Lulu Housman (Highgate) beat Laurence Rozner and Virgine Burrus 2/1
Julie Brown (Trentham) halved with Nathalie Lamboult
Cath Rawthore (Sale) beat Sophie Pfeiffer 5/4
Amanda Mayne (Saltford) beat Christine Muracciole 6/4
Debbie Richards (Burhill) lost to Christine Mouhica 5/4
Minjee Lee, the No. 1 ranked female amateur golfer in the world, has signed with IMG for worldwide management and marketing representation.
Lee, 18, completed a successful amateur career at last week's Women's World Amateur Team Championship, where she shot 64-65 in the final two rounds to lead Team Australia to victory. She will make her professional debut via sponsor exemption at this week's Evian Championship, the final major championship of the 2014 season.
“As my professional career begins, I am very happy to have the support of my team at IMG,” said Lee. “It is a thrill for me to begin this stage of my career at the Evian and I look forward to the journey ahead with the guidance of IMG.”
Lee was recently awarded the 2014 Mark H. McCormack Medal, presented by the R&A and the USGA, as the leading women's amateur golfer in the world. The previous three McCormack medals were awarded to Lydia Ko.
A native of Perth, Australia, Lee has held the top spot in the amateur rankings since February when she won the Women's Victorian Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) Tour. She also earned top-25 finishes at the Kraft Nabisco Championship – where she claimed low-am honors – and the U.S. Women's Open this season.
Highlights of Lee's significant amateur victories include the 2012 U.S. Girls Junior and consecutive wins at the 2013 and 2014 Australian Women's Amateur. She was also the only amateur participant in the LPGA Tour's inaugural International Crown, representing team Australia.
FootJoy, makers of the number-one selling glove in golf, has launched a new website dedicated to teaching you the importance of finding a properly-fitting golf glove and how this can enhance performance.
Golfgloveguide.com incorporates instructional and experiential content, outlining the five most important aspects pertaining to a glove's performance: Equipment, Grip, Fit, Durability and Care.
According to FootJoy Ambassador and World No.2 Adam Scott, finding the best golf glove for you is crucial. He said: “All of the feel in your golf game comes through your hands. It is so important that I have good feel through my glove, as my hands are connected to the club, which is doing all of the work.”
Abacus Sportswear , the Official Apparel Supplier of The 2015 European Solheim Cup Team, has introduced a new multi-functional Score Fleece to its Autumn/Winter 2014 (AW14) collection.
Made from stretch reverse fleece material, whereby the thick, pill fleece is on the interior of the garment and the exterior is similar to a satin soft shell, the Score jacket can be worn as an outer layer or combined with one of the brand's pioneering, lightweight and breathable waterproofs.
Available as both a jacket (pictured), and a vest, for the warmer autumnal days, the Score Fleece is available in a range of on-trend hues, which include Red, Cobalt, Black and White. The ladies' jacket has a stylish two-tone panel, which flatters the feminine physique.
The Score's warm, middle layer fleece and its thermo-technology features will keep you snug on the golf course in the middle of winter. The jacket's stretch qualities offer added elasticity and enable complete freedom of movement, while ensuring complete flexibility, comfort and warmth.
Chris Mattsson, head designer at Abacus Sportswear, explained: “The abacus® Score Fleece takes inspiration from winter sports, incorporating the same features and functionality used in many snowboarding and skiing garments – sports which require, like golf, for the fabrics to be stretchable and to move in total sync with the wearer's movements.
“As the nature of the game calls upon golfers to be out on the course for long periods of time and in potentially volatile autumnal weather, the new multi-functional Score Fleece embodies the abacus® brand ethos, of being breathable and lightweight, enabling golfers to concentrate exclusively on their game. What we, at Abacus Sportswear, call freedom of golf.”
To view the latest Abacus Sportswear Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection, or for more information, visit: www.abacussportswear.com
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