Lancashire’s Catherine Roberts and Suffolk’s Alice Barlow are the pride of their counties after they became the first winners of the new English women and girls’ county champion of champions’ tournament.
“It’s brilliant,” said Roberts (Pleasington), who took the women’s title in dramatic style on the Bracken course at Woodhall Spa Golf Club in Lincolnshire.
She holed a 25ft putt on the last for one-over 73, to edge past Cornwall’s Georgia Price, who had just chipped in for her birdie, and Dorset’s Melissa McMahon who both scored 74.
“It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever won and it’s great for Lancashire and my club,” said Roberts, who became county champion for the third time this year.
Barlow (Newton Green), also won by a shot in the girls’ event scoring 76 to finish ahead of Devon’s Chloe Howard (Boringdon Park) and Oxfordshire’s Amy Boote (Tadmarton Heath). In addition she finished fifth in the women’s event.
It’s the biggest win of Barlow’s career and, as her last major event before leaving junior ranks, it crowns her years as a girl golfer.
The 17-year-old knew the omens were good when her tee shot on the short fifth ended up in a ditch and she had to play off a slope with one foot in the water – and popped the ball out to 2ft on her way to a par. “I knew it was going to be a good day!” she said.
However, she gave herself a few nervous moments after she three-putted both 17 and 18 for bogeys. “I thought the last couple of holes might cost me,” she said, but she was cushioned by a comfortable lead.
Roberts had no such luxury as she battled down the closing holes against Price (Bude and North Cornwall), her playing partner, and against McMahon (Lyme Regis), who was playing in the group in front.
But she had a strong finish, playing the back nine in two-under par – benefitting from a putting lesson which she took last Friday. “I knew I had been hitting it well but you can’t play well if you’re not putting well and my putting had been off in the run-up to this.”
Both players welcomed the new event, which involves the women and girls in County Champions weekend alongside the boys, men and senior men. When Barlow she heard about the new competition she was very keen to take her place in the field, saying: “It was the thought of playing here at the home of golf in England,” she said. Roberts added: “It’s great.”
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Caption: Alice Barlow (left) and Catherine Roberts (image © Leaderboard Photography)