England’s Julie Brown kept her nerve with pars over the last five holes to win the British senior women’s championship at Prestatyn Golf Club, Wales.
“I am just so pleased,” said Brown, who won by three shots. “I really wanted to win.”
She finished on three-over par with rounds of 72 75 78 and won by three strokes from Irish senior champion Gertie McMullen (The Island). Jane Rees (Minchinhampton), winner of the Welsh seniors, made ground on both the leaders with a closing 75 to finish third on 229.
It’s the latest success in a short but sparkling career in senior ranks. Brown made her debut in 2014, winning the English senior championship and helping England to become European champions and winners of the senior women’s Home Internationals.
Brown, from Trentham in Staffordshire, was inspired to her British success when fellow England team member Cath Rawthore won last year. She was helped when she caddied for her daughter at last year’s Welsh open stroke play at Prestatyn and got to know the course. And she was supported by her partner, Tony Coleman, on the bag – particularly in the tricky windy conditions of the last day.
“He clubbed me really well, especially on the 14th. If I had gone my choice I would have been one club out and out of position. He convinced me to hit one more and it paid off.”
Brown held a two-stroke lead over McMullen going into the final round but her advantage was threatened when she had a double bogey six at the fifth and shed another shot at the next. Meanwhile McMullen had bogeyed the second but birdied the fourth and fifth.
But the Irish champion let the initiative pass back to Brown when she had a bogey at the sixth and a triple bogey seven at the next. McMullen birdied the ninth, but, out in 39, she had gained only one shot on the leader.
Brown’s only birdie came at the 12th and, after bogeying the 13th, she reeled off a string of five pars to consolidate her winning position. Crucially she got up and down for par on the 15th to keep her run going. “It was an almost impossible chip and had double bogey written all over it. I just looked at it, didn’t think too much about it but saw what I needed to do.
“I played the shot and holed the putt – and that’s what won it for me. Gertie birdied that hole, so it would have been a massive swing.”
Brown is no strange to success. She was an England international before turning professional and playing on the Ladies European Tour for seven years, where won the German Open. She returned to the amateur ranks in 2006 and has since captained several England girls’ teams, won the Staffordshire championship twice – making four titles in total – and been Midlands North ladies’ champion.
Defending champion Catherine Rawthore (Sale) finished tied 11th on 233, saving her best to last with a 75 in the third round. Laura Webb (East Berkshire), Caroline Berry (Bromborough) and Sue Dye (Cheshire) all won age group categories.
• Brown’s daughter, Emily Coleman, completed a winning double for the family when she won her first event on the US women’s college circuit as a student at Western Texas College
Click here for more information about the championship.
Image courtesy LGU