Hertfordshire’s Jackie Foster played superb sub-par golf today to charge away from the field and successfully defend her title as English senior women’s stroke play champion.
She shot three-under 69 in the final round at Harpenden, in her home county – notching up both her first sub-70 score and the low round of the championship.
It also gave her a winning margin of four shots over her playing partner and fellow international Julie Brown.
The pair put on a great show of fine quality golf, with Brown (Trentham) going round in level par 72. Third place was shared by two-time former champion Janet Melville (Royal Birkdale) and overnight leader Aileen Greenfield (Pyecombe). First round leader Felicity Christine (Woking) was fifth.
“I am just really shocked and pleased,” said Foster, from Bishops Stortford, who was three-over for the 54-holes. “It was one of those days when everything seemed to work. It’s fantastic and I am just so happy.”
She was one shot off the lead as she set out on a highly competitive final round, with the top of the leaderboard packed with international players. They jostled for position over the opening holes but it was Foster who gradually edged ahead after reaching the turn on one-over par.
Once in front, there was no looking back. Her game moved up a gear on the back nine as she came home in in four-under 32, with the help of three birdies and a superb eagle three on 14, where she reached the green with a drive and a six iron and holed a 4ft putt. “That six-iron was the best shot of the week, I was really chuffed about that,” she said.
Her only bogey of the back nine was on the short 16th but she came straight back with another birdie on the long 17th, again hitting the green in two. She just missed the green on 18 but secured her par with a near-perfect chip which prompted warm applause from the spectators.
Meanwhile, Brown was playing her own sparkling stuff. She had dropped three shots on the front nine but then got into her stride and came home in three-under, also getting up and down on the last, in her case from a bunker. “Julie played great and it helped that we both played so well, we definitely encouraged each other,” said Foster.
During the round however, she had no idea of the state of play. “I didn’t look at the scoreboards and I had no idea what anyone else was doing. I just kept going and kept going, I can only play my own game.”
She added: “I was really pleased with my first two rounds and to be in the mix. There was a great leaderboard after two rounds with so many good people up there, it was fantastic. Anyone could have won with a good round – it just happened to be me!”