Hampshire county player Elly Gardner booked her place in the 2013 England Golf Grand Medal Final when she scored a two-shot win in the South Region qualifier at Ifield, Sussex.
Elly, who plays off three, had a net score of one-under 71 and leads 10 qualifiers for the Grand Final. She commented: “It’s absolutely amazing, I’m really, really pleased. When I shot under my handicap I thought that might be enough to qualify but I wasn’t expecting to win.”
The 21-year-old from Botley Park will be joined at the Grand Medal Final at Northants County Golf Club on June 29 by: Terri Linskey of Pedham Place, Kent; Anya Davis of Drift, Surrey; Amanda Lucking of Cowdray Park, Sussex; Clare Bolger of Ham Manor, Sussex; Julie Wilding of West Hill, Surrey; Lisa Grainger of Windlesham, Surrey; Judy Ames of Royal Winchester, Hampshire, Sue Hornsby of Croham Hurst, Surrey and Deborah Wheeler of Holtye, Sussex.
The event was contested by the best women club medal players from five counties: Hampshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. All the regional finalists returned the best four scores at their club in the England Golf Medals during 2012.
At the regional qualifier Elly was one-under par for her front nine – despite never having seen the course before – and came home in three over. “It was a great day’s golf and hopefully it will continue,” she said.
“This will be my first national final so it’s going to be a new experience and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Elly, who has a degree in golf management, started playing when she was about eight but has become increasingly serious about her golf over the last few years and is now hoping to play national championships. Last year, she was top qualifier for the Hampshire championship and also shot the best 18-hole net score in the event.
This was the first of six regional medal finals. The others are: South West on 25 April at Sherborne, Dorset; East on 30 April at Gog Magog, Cambs & Hunts; Midlands South on 3 May at Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire; Midlands North on 22 May at Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire; North on 23 May at Eaton, Cheshire.
Qualifying net scores
Par 72, CSS 75
71 Eleanor Gardner (Botley Park)
73 Terri Linskey (Pedham Place), Anya Davis (Drift),
74 Amanda Lucking (Cowdray Park), Clare Bolger (Ham Manor), Julie Wilding (West Hill)
75 Lisa Grainger (Windlesham), Judy Ames (Royal Winchester), Sue Hornsby (Croham Hurst), Deborah Wheeler (Holtye)