Hampshire golfer Caroline Pinder set up a special birthday present to herself when she won the South region qualifier for England Golf’s 2012 Grand Medal Final.
The qualifying event, at Highgate in Middlesex, was contested by the best women club medal players from five Southern counties. The top 10 now go forward to the Grand Medal Final at Worcestershire Golf Club on Saturday, June 23 – the day before Caroline’s birthday.
“I am chuffed to pieces,” said Caroline, from Gosport and Stokes Bay Golf Club. She had a net score of one-under par 70 and won the qualifier by two shots.
Her fellow qualifiers are: Kay Clark (Wildernesse), Felicity Saunders (Tyrrells Wood), Jenny Frei (Cottesmore), Cecile Shek (Shirley Park), Caroline Roadnight (Waterlooville), Alex Ord (Boughton), Carol Bradshaw (South Winchester), Niki Orchard (Hartley Wintney) and Karen Webb (Southwood).
They will join qualifiers from five other regions at the Grand Medal Final to compete for the title of England’s champion medal player. All the regional finalists returned the best four scores at their club in the English Women’s Medals during 2011.
Caroline has been a golf club member for just two years and this is her biggest win to date – and she had to endure a long, anxious wait before it was confirmed.
“I said beforehand that I’d like to be in the top half of the field. Then, when I came in, they said I was leading. That was at 3pm and I had to wait until 7.30pm to find out that I’d held on. It was agonising and the longer it went on the worse it got!"
Caroline started golf with a group of friends – all fellow members of a netball team. “We started doing girlie golf and called ourselves ‘All the gear and no idea!’” However, she quickly got the idea, encouraged by her partner and other golfing members of her family, and is now down to 23 handicap, with another cut on the way.
“Golf’s a real challenge and I just love it,” she said.
Qualifying net scores
Par 71, SSS 72 CSS 74, handicaps in brackets
70 Caroline Pinder (Gosport & Stokes Bay, 23)
72 Kay Clark (Wildernesse, 12), Fe
licity Saunders (Tyrrells Wood, 24)
73 Jenny Frei (Cottesmore, 15), Cecile Shek (Shirley Park, 12), Caroline Roadnight (Waterlooville, 19 )
74 Alex Ord (Boughton, 11), Carol Bradshaw (South Winchester, 18), Niki Orchard (Hartley Wintney, 20), Karen Webb (Southwood, 25)