English women’s championship goes back to its roots

The English Women’s Amateur Championship will return to its roots when it is decided by match play next week at Saunton Golf Club in Devon.

For the past seven years the championship has been played as a 72-hole stroke play event, but it will revert to its traditional format when it starts next Wednesday, 22 May.

The competitors will play two stroke play rounds on the first two days to decide the 32 players who go head to head in the match pay.

The last time it was played this way Charley Hull was a finalist, losing to Lucy Williams at West Sussex.

This year’s contenders include the in-form Lily May Humphreys (Stoke by Nayland) who has just won the Irish and Welsh women’s open stroke play championships. She’s also past winner of this title, taking the honours in 2017.

The defending champion is Georgina Blackman (Chelmsford), who was a member of England’s winning team in the recent England v Spain international. Humphreys also played in that team as did two other championship challengers, Bel Wardle (Prestbury) and Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay).

Wardle is also on great form, having been runner-up in the Welsh stroke play, sixth in the Spanish amateur, and fourth in the Portuguese amateur. Toy, meanwhile, won the New South Wales Stroke Play on a tour of Australia earlier this season.

Local interest will focus on the five Devon players in the field: Keeley Clarke (Torquay), Lexi Dart (Churston), Chloe Howard (Boringdon Park), Lauren Pearce (Woodbury Park) and Abigail Turner (Okehampton).

The players will be challenged by the links of the West course at Saunton, which demands great positioning off the tee and 100% commitment on the green.

The championship starts on Wednesday, with the final played on Sunday 26 May.

Caption: Saunton Golf Club (image copyright Leaderboard Photography).