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Golf News: - Posted 29th May 1998 (Previous report)

Ratcliffe and Walters in showdown

Walton Heath, Surrey - Curtis Cup star Elaine Ratcliffe and teenager Lisa Walters, the top two match play qualifiers earlier in the week, will tomorrow contest the 18-hole final of the English Ladies Amateur Golf Championship over the superb tree-lined Walton Heath course in Surrey.

But Ratcliffe, the 25-year-old favourite for the title, looked dead and buried when she was three down at the turn in her semi-final to fellow Curtis Cup golfer Karen Stupples from Royal Cinque Ports in Kent.

A complete transformation in fortunes over the homeward stretch got Ratcliffe, beaten finalist in 1995 and the Bronze medallist at last year's individual European championship, home on the final green.

Ratcliffe reduced the deficit to two at the 11th, and a birdie four at the 13th brought it back to one, but she three-putted the 14th and it looked pretty grim for her at two down.

But then some superb iron shots brought her three holes in a row and meant she went in front for the first time at the 17th, this time a magnificent five iron to the heart of the green doing the trick.

And although she was bunkered at the last she still managed the half needed for victory.

"I didn't play as well as yesterday. My swing wasn't quite right and I know I may have to move up a couple of gears to win the title," said Ratcliffe.

Walters, aged 18 from Chevin, Derbyshire, made a good start against 16-year-old Shropshire schoolgirl Sarah Heath in the semi-finals being two up after seven.

And Walters who spent three months in Portugal honing her game during the winter always seemed in control.

She goes to Florida State University later in the year and has ambitions to turn professional while her opponent in the final Ratcliffe is still weighing up the pros and cons of life in the paid ranks.