Day 1: Emily Slater leads the way at Ipswich …

There was plenty of excitement at the English Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship being held at Ipswich Golf Club over the next three days.   After Day 1, the lead is held by Emily Slater (Gog Magog) with a magnificent 68, four shots under the par of 72 on the composite course put together for this event.   At 6,156 yards comprised of 7 white tees, 6 yellows and 5 reds, this is no pushover even though these young women hit the ball prodigious distances and despatch it to towering heights with apparent ease.  Rosie Belsham (Whitley Bay) was one shot behind Emily with Rebecca Earl (Bishop Stortford), one further off the lead on 70.  Then came three on 71:  Emily Brennan (Bristol and Clifton), Carys Worby (Newport Links) and Harriet Lynch (Thorndon Park).  

The Suffolk contingent didn’t fare too well when judged by their normal standards.   Abbie Symonds returned the best score of 78.  Alice Barlow and Georgia Parker both finished on 81, Sharon Luckman 82 and Vanessa Bell 85.  Lils James withdrew after the round.   ‘The cut’ will come tomorrow night when only the first 40 and ties will go forward to play the final 36 holes to find the Champion.   Last year’s winner, Isabella Holpfer (Austria) returned a 74 today so is well in the frame to qualify for Day 3. 

The golf course looked wonderful, beautifully but not over manicured, with the heather in full bloom.  The sun shone most of the day and the club house and its surroundings, the new deck furnished with comfortable chairs where spectators were able to enjoy the drinks of their choice and watch the players tussling with the eighteenth green whilst indulging in cheery conversation made for a most pleasurable occasion.  

As a matter of record, the greens were running at 10.5 on the stimp meter, not too fast though many of the players found the holes elusive.  There were some superb shots to the short par 3 tenth hole but perhaps tomorrow more of them will have recalled the art of the chip and run.   To get nearer the hole to begin with would have saved a good few shots. 

Day 2: Progress at the English Women’s Stroke Play Event

Scoring was good on the second day of the Championship being held at Ipswich Golf Club.   The players were all due to complete the second round of qualifying for the final 36 holes and, as usual, the cream seemed to be rising to the top.  How frustrating then for Alice Barlow, Suffolk’s champion, who missed the cut by a single shot, having found the going tough on Day 1.   Abbie Symonds, having returned a commendable 78 yesterday, added an 82 on Day 2.  It wasn’t enough to take her on to the final day, but she nevertheless gave a good account of herself. The defending champion Isabella Holpfer qualified in eleventh place with 74/72 so definitely has a chance to make her mark tomorrow.  With the weather set fair, the leader board should make interesting reading as the day goes on.

Leading scores: 

139      Rosie Belsham (Whitley Bay) 69/70;
141      Maeve Rossi (Golf Club Ambrosiano) 72/69; Rebecca Earl (Bishops Stortford) 70/71;
142      Emily Slater (Gog Magog) 68/74
143      Pyrene Delample (Trois Vallons) 74/69;  Ebonie Lewis (Bristol & Clifton) 73/70;
144      Harry Darcey (The Vale Resort) 75/69;  Ffion Tynan (Minchinhampton) 72/72;
145      Penelope Brown (Worthing) 74/71 

Suffolk scores:

152      Alice Barlow (Bury St Edmunds) 81/72;
160      Abbie Symonds (Ipswich) 78/82;
167      Georgia Parker (Bury St Edmunds) 81/86;
168      Vanessa Bell (Ipswich) 85/83

 Day 3: A truly thrilling Final Day at Ipswich…

Such excitement echoed around Purdis Heath with the lead changing hands all day but, in the end Bishop Stortford’s 19-year-old Rebecca Earl came through to post a 73 in the last 18 holes for a tally of 286 for the four rounds of the England Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. This is her first international success. She finished one shot ahead of Lily May Humphreys (Stoke-By-Nayland) and Shannon McWilliam (Aboyne). Lily May shot a terrific 68 in the final round to haul herself into second place whilst Shannon’s 69 brought her level with Lily May. Showing plenty of class, for both of them the fourth round was the best of the four they played. Isobel Wardle (Prestbury) constructed a splendid 67, five under par, which was the best round of the day. She tied in 5th place with Harry Darcy (The Vale Resort) and the defending Champion, Isabella Holpfer (Reiters Golf and Country Club).

Of the more local players, there will be names that those who follow County Golf will know: Miranda Brain and Emily Slater, both from Gog Magog finished tied 17th and 24th respectively and Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer) finished tied 30.

Ipswich Golf Club should be proud of their Championship organisation. Seemingly the whole event ran smoothly in a comfortably relaxed and orderly fashion which was very enjoyable for those who visited and, from the competitors viewpoint the hybrid course set by England Golf provided a fine test of golf for the technically interesting, big-hitting young women who needed to produce their best game in order to get their hands on the trophy.
Julie Latimer-Jones.

Julie Latimer-Jones