English Girls’ Amateur Stroke Play: Rowlands stands strong on a windy Wednesday at Sandy Lodge

Abbi Rowlands put on a convincing performance this afternoon to take pole position heading into the final day of the English Girls’ Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Sandy Lodge Golf Club.

Rowlands’ three-under par round of 69 allows her to go into the final 36 holes with a two shot advantage over Davina Xanh and a three-shot cushion from Ellie Monks and Anna Wills.

The Foxhills golfer got off to a flying start – a birdie on the par five, first hole set a positive tone for the 18-year-old.

Her good form continued through the next several holes; a birdie on the fourth, a sensational eagle on the par five, sixth hole and another birdie on the seventh placed her at the top of the pile where she would stay for the rest of the round.

Her bogeyless front nine meant she bought herself some breathing room heading into what proved to be a difficult home stretch for most of the field..

“I’m pleased with how I played today,” said Rowlands, “The front nine went really well – I eagled the sixth which was nice!

“I’m just going to try to do the same tomorrow. I should be okay playing 36 holes, as long as I have food and drink!

“The course is great – it’s set up well and the greens are rolling nicely too.”

Despite the wind dropping, Rowlands went round the back nine in two-over par, with bogeys on 15 and 18.

“The wind got better as the round went on, I left a few shots out there on the back nine though – I suppose that’s golf, really!”

Not everybody in the field had bad luck on the 15th though – especially not Ashleigh Critchley from Wellingborough Golf Club who managed to score an incredible hole-in-one, giving herself the chance of a late comeback to qualify for the final day.

Unfortunately, the adrenaline rush of an ace proved too much – Critchley closed her round shooting double-bogey, bogey, bogey to finish nine-over, two shots over the cut which stands at seven-over par.

Threats will come at Rowlands from all angles tomorrow.  Monk from Windlesham Golf Club finished level par for the day, leaving her three shots behind the leader.

“Today was solid,” said Monk, “The course was in brilliant condition – it was really windy which definitely make a few shots quite interesting!”

Unlike the leader of the pack, Monk had a steadier finish to her found finishing level for the back nine, with consecutive pars from the 12th through to finish – no mean feat on this challenging course.

“I’m pleased with the 18th,” Monk added,

“I was quite nervous on the tee with level par so I didn’t want to go in to the trees or go short so I was happy in the end with a par!”

A total of 45 players made the cut and will play 36 holes to decide who will lift the trophy.

Rowlands lead is far from unassailable with 13 players within seven shots of her total. With wind and rain forecast, a talented group of players in chase and a lot of golf left to be played, an exciting finish has been teed up!

View the full leaderboard here.