Suffolk’s Fiona Edmond completed a dream return to golf today when she became the English senior women’s amateur champion at her first attempt.
Edmond (pictured top) sealed the 2/1 win over Aileen Greenfield of Sussex when she holed a six-footer for par on the 17th at South Staffordshire Golf Club and said afterwards: “I’ve dreamed of having a 6ft putt for an English title and it’s amazing to have done that. I can’t believe this, I am so excited.”
It’s been a long road to the title and the Wendy Taylor Salver. Edmond (Ipswich) was the first woman to become a Cambridge Blue for golf and in the early 1990s she was both an England and GB&I international.
But her career was cut short by injury and ME, the long-term neurological condition – and then it was overtaken by the demands of six children and a garden design business. She gave up golf over two decades ago and only returned three years ago at the suggestion of one of her sons.
Her game returned almost instantly and now it’s taken her back to the top. “I am so lucky, I have everything I have ever wanted in my life,” she said. “I never dreamed I would have another go at golf and winning an English title.”
She arrived at South Staffordshire on an exploratory mission. “I was coming to have a look, to see what it was like and what the standard was like. I wanted to put myself in a position to find out if I enjoyed this sort of competition again – and I’ve loved it.”
She qualified in sixth place and worked her way steadily through the match play, beating Lulu Housman (Wyke Ridge, Middlesex) by one hole in this morning’s semi-final. Greenfield (Pyecombe, Suffolk) made her way into the final with a two up win over top seed Caroline Berry (Bromborough, Cheshire) in a low-scoring match.
The finalists traded blows over the opening holes and the fifth was the first hole to be won. Edmond claimed it when Greenfield three-putted and from then on she led in the match.
Both players were on form, but it was Edmond’s razor sharp golf, which rarely strayed from the fairways and greens, which won the day. If she did miss the target she could usually be relied upon to fashion a good up-and-down. She did exactly that from a bunker on the sixth to get to two up.
An unexpectedly scrappy show on the 10th gave a hole back to Greenfield, but Edmond promptly won the short 11th and the long 12th with a par, birdie combination. Greenfield produced her own birdie three on 14 where she rattled in a long putt from the fringe, but after that the holes were steadily halved in par until the 17th decided the title.
For Greenfield – who has just learned she needs a hip replacement – it means she’s now been runner-up in English senior championships three times. “I’m the bridesmaid again,” she said, but also pointed out that this is only her second full season of senior golf.
The second flight of the championship, for the Ann Howard Trophy, was contested by the leading over-60s and was won by another newcomer to national senior golf.
Rosie Waller (Kendal, Cumbria) was playing in the championship for the first time and defeated Carol Cass (Broadstone, Dorset) with a birdie on the 19th at the end of an intensely close game.
“I’ve waited till I was 62 to play in this! Three of us came from Cumbria and we wanted to put Cumbria on the map,” said Waller. “We just came to enjoy it and we have met some fantastic ladies who are now friends.”
Cass, who won the 18th to take the game into extra time, remarked: “We had a fab game, there was never more than one hole in it. It was a great match and I can’t be disappointed.”
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