England international Gemma Clews has been knocking on the door of a big win – and today she claimed it in style, with a five-shot victory in the Welsh women’s open stroke play championship.
“It’s been long overdue,” said Clews, from Delamere Forest, Cheshire. “I’m over the moon.”
She was level par for the 54-hole event at Ashburnham, powering away from her opposition with a final round of two-under 71.
Her closest rival on five-over was Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire) while Curtis Cup player Rochelle Morris (Woodsome Hall, Yorkshire) was fourth. Four more English players were in the top ten: Georgia Coughlin (St Annes Old Links, Lancashire), Georgia Price (Bude and North Cornwall) and Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe, Lancashire).
Clews is a successful international with a great record in 36-hole scratch events – she’s already won two this season with a combined score of 20-under par – and she’s also challenged for the big titles. But in the past she feels she’s put herself under too much pressure to cross the winning line.
This weekend she made no mistakes. “Today I told myself if it happens, it happens and I just forgot about it. If you play good golf everything else looks after itself. But it definitely feels good to win and it’s taken the pressure off.”
The championship started in tough, very windy conditions, but Clews put herself right in contention with two-over 75, just two shots behind the lead set by her England team-mate Sophie Lamb.
On the second day she was frustrated by putts which refused to drop but carded level par 73 to take a one-shot lead.
Today, in the third and final round, she put her foot down with three consecutive birdies from the eighth, which moved her away from the field. Two were on par fives, where she two-putted for birdies, while on the 9th she holed a 30-footer. “That was very important, I knew how close it was,” she said.
She kept up the great golf on the way in, helped by an impressive birdie on the short 16th where she played to within 2ft of the hole.
Clews also teamed up with Sophie Lamb and Sammy Fuller (Roehampton, Surrey) to win the Nations Cup for England.
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Image courtesy Golf Union of Wales