Oxfordshire golfer Ciara Walsh booked her place in the 2013 England Golf Grand Medal Final when – playing in her first major competition – she won the Midlands South Region qualifier at Hazlemere Golf Club in Buckinghamshire.
Ciara, from Oxford Ladies’, has been playing golf for just two years. She was one shot clear of the field and leads 10 qualifiers for the Grand Final. “I’m very pleased with my score in my first big competition,” she said, adding: “It’s absolutely amazing, brilliant.”
She will be joined at the Grand Medal Final at Northants County Golf Club on June 29 by: Hazel Hagger of North Oxford, Brenda Brown of Hadden Hill, Young-Mi Kweon of Coombe Hill, Anne-Marie Gilbert of Lambourne, Tracy Crew of Reading, Margaret Glennie of Frilford Heath, Kay Woolley of Harleyford, Sally Gordon-Stewart of Rye Hill and Sarah Cooper-Olsen of Worthing.
The event was contested by the best women club medal players from six counties: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire & Herefordshire. All the regional finalists had returned the best four scores at their club in the England Golf Medals during 2012. Ciara qualified when she was a member at her previous club, Hinksey Heights.
Golf has taken over from football in Ciara’s life. She used to play for Oxford United Ladies’ but commented: “My knees and ankles eventually said ‘stop’. So I took up golf, I joined with a friend and we started from scratch – and I’m loving it!”
She has already reduced her handicap to 27 and her current target is to get down to 20.
This was the fourth of six regional medal finals. The South, South West and East regional finals have already been held and the others are: Midlands North on 22 May at Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire; North on 23 May at Eaton, Cheshire.
Qualifying net scores
Par 70, CSS 73 reduction only
71 Ciara Walsh (Oxford Ladies)
72 Hazel Hagger (North Oxford)
73 Brenda Brown (Hadden Hill)
74 Young-Mi Kweon (Coombe Hill)
75 Anne-Marie Gilbert (Lambourne), Tracy Crew (Reading), Margaret Glennie (Frilford Heath)
76 Kay Woolley (Harleyford), Sally Gordon-Stewart (Rye Hill), Sarah Cooper-Olsen (Worthing)