Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Double fightback puts Gloucestershire
top of the table

grace connelly day 2  

Teenagers Grace Connelly and Caley McGinty both pulled off a remarkable comeback to take Gloucestershire to the top of the table at the English Women’s County Finals at Royal North Devon Golf Club.
Connelly (pictured top) came from three down with four to play to win on the last; McGinty was two down with five to play and also won on the 18th. Their fightbacks transformed Gloucestershire’s fortunes, giving them a 4-1 win over Surrey.
They’re also the only team with two wins from two matches and have opened up a two-point gap at the top of the leaderboard. In today’s other matches Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire both bounced back from yesterday’s defeats to win today, beating Staffordshire and Norfolk respectively.
The golfing dramas were played out in the toughest of conditions, with the players battling the tailwinds of Storm Helene. The weather forced a change in format with play starting late and the matches each reduced to one foursomes and four singles.
Although the worst of the winds had blown through by the time play started, they were still brutally strong. Bags were blown over, flags were bending, par three greens proved extremely elusive and club selection was very challenging.
“I hit one rescue club 210 yards and another 100 yards,” said Gloucestershire’s Alex Saunders, who teamed up with Claudia Ovens to win the foursomes 6 and 5. “You could stand up and swing, but if you got a gust at the top of the backswing it could throw you off. But I really enjoyed it, it was great fun.”
They were quickly followed in by Ffion Tyan, who also won 6 and 5 and was only two over par. But then the battle began. Surrey’s Alice Spani-Molella had a comfortable 4 and 2 win and with Rafiah Banday and Katie Laud leading in the later stages of their games, the South region champions looked in great shape.
But Gloucestershire had other ideas. Connelly, 17, won the last four holes of her game to finish one up and, for the second day in a row, sealed the team’s victory. McGinty, also 17, put the icing on the cake when she started her comeback with a winning birdie on 14, got to all square after 15 and won the 18th for her point.
Behind them, the young Yorkshire team halted the progress of Staffordshire, who had won yesterday. The Northern champions’ 3-2 victory was spearheaded by Mia Eales Smith, who may be small in stature but overpowered the conditions to win 6 and 5. The foursomes pair of Evie Cooke and Lily Hurst won 2up, and Melissa Wood completed the victory with her 3 and 2 win.
“They played fantastically well,” said team captain Helen Lilley. “It was very tough, very hard work, but they all did really well, including those who lost. This will boost their confidence and help them find their feet.”
The final match pitted Buckinghamshire against Norfolk, who were both keen to get their first win on the board.
Buckinghamshire prevailed 3.5-1.5, with wins for the foursomes pairing of Alice Kozlowski and Georgina Bowers (2 and 1), Rachel Goodwin (3 and 2), Lily Robinson (8 and 6) and a half for Thalia Kirby.
“It was a great result, very, very good,” said team captain Sue Ashworth. “I think it was windier than they anticipated but our coach was very good at encouraging them to take enough club. The morale is good and hopefully we can build on that.”
Tomorrow, more strong winds are forecast and play will start at 7.30am, with each match consisting of two foursomes and four singles. The draw: Yorkshire v Buckinghamshire, Norfolk v Surrey and Gloucestershire v Staffordshire.

Click here for full scores
Images copyright Leaderboard Photography
Lyndsey Hewison
Press Officer
England Golf
07590 878349

Notes to Editor
England Golf is the governing body for amateur golf in England. It is one of the country’s largest sports governing bodies and looks after the interests of more than 1,900 golf clubs and 675,000 men, women, boy and girl club members.
England Golf is at the heart of grassroots golf, inspiring people to have a lifelong involvement in the game. Our development initiative ‘Get into golf’ introduces new golfers, juniors and adults, to start playing the game as well as increasing the interest and participation in golf. Working with our partners we offer business support to clubs to encourage more golfers to enjoy the benefits of club membership and to help promote the game as being accessible, fun and family friendly.
For competitive golfers, England Golf provides championships for all ages and abilities, both in individual and team events, hosted at some of the most prestigious courses across the country, some with qualifying events at any club.
England Golf identifies and develops the country’s most talented golfers through their amateur careers, many of whom go on to become the world’s leading professional golfers, such as Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Charley Hull, Melissa Reid and Georgia Hall.
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