Helen charges back to win English senior title

2015 English senior champion Helen Lowe

Leicestershire’s Helen Lowe staged a superb fightback to become the new English senior women’s amateur champion at Woodall Spa.

She’d been trailing Julie Brown – the defending champion – since the turn and was three down after 14 holes of the final. But then she turned the tide. She produced a pair of birdies to launch a charge and won four holes in a row to snatch victory on the 18th.

“That was when I started pinching myself and thinking ‘Is it really me that has done this?’ It’s absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t happier,” she said.

Lowe (image © Leaderboard Photography), who has twice been the Leicestershire county champion, was playing in this event for only the second time. On her debut last year she qualified for the second flight match play; this time she played her way comfortably into the championship match play and proceeded to despatch a series of high quality opponents.

First to fall was former champion Caroline Berry (Bromborough), followed by international Lulu Housman (Highgate) and then, in the semi-final, the number two seed Lindsey Shaw (Chevin).

The final brought her up against Staffordshire’s Brown, who was not only the defending champion, but also the top seed and an international who last year helped England become European and Home International champions.

The first few holes were closely contested, but Lowe (Scraptoft) hit a wobble in the middle, lost her putting touch for a few holes and was three down after 14. But then her feel on the greens returned and she started an unbeatable charge, with birdies on the 15th and 16th, followed by a solid par on 17 to get back to all square.

On the 18th Lowe’s birdie putt stayed out, but finished stone dead, while Brown (Trentham) missed a three-foot par putt to keep the match alive.

The title belonged to Lowe and she said: “It’s been great, senior golf has opened up a whole new world.” As well as playing in England events, she also finished sixth in last year’s British senior championships.

The Flight Two matchplay was won by Debbie Warren (King’s Norton) on her debut appearance in this event, beating former international Roz Adams (Royal Blackheath) by 5/3 in the final.

“It was a really good match,” said Warren, who has been Staffordshire county champion three times. “It was nip and tuck at the beginning, and Roz holed some very good putts, but over the last five or six holes I went up a gear.

“My long game was fantastic and I hit some iron shots close and had a couple of birdies.”

On her way to the final Warren defeated past senior champion Sue Dye (Delamere Forest), Airlie Dyson (Batchworth Park), and former British senior champion Katherine Russell (Royal Ashdown Forest).

“I played really good golf over the two days and I’m certainly level par for the four rounds, or under par,” said Warren.

She described the match play rounds as a “fresh start” after the two days of stroke play qualifying, played in brutal conditions of strong winds and rain.

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