Leading players target English women’s matchplay

India Clyburn

Leading players will head to Holme Hall Golf Club in Lincolnshire next week for the English women’s open match play championship, from 30 June – 2 July.

They include Lincolnshire’s India Clyburn (Image © Leaderboard Photography), who is a past English girls’ champion and has played in winning England teams at the women and girls’ Home Internationals. She’s joined in the field by fellow Woodhall Spa member, Billie-Jo Smith.

This is the first time Holme Hall has hosted a national championship and the club is throwing itself behind the event. Manager Andrew Watson said: “We had the regional women’s county match week recently and that was a real eye-opener.

“The members really enjoyed it and there’s a huge amount of enthusiasm for this championship. I’ve got a long list of volunteers willing to help with everything from ball spotting to scoreboards.”

The heathland course is where Tony Jacklin played his golf as a junior and, says Watson: “It’s the closest I have ever seen to a true inland links course. In the afternoons we get the breeze from the Trent and Humber which can make the back nine a challenge.”

He added: “It’s a second shot course. If you can get your drive in position you have a good chance for a birdie.”

The field includes Cornwall’s Sammie Giles who won this trophy in 2014. She played for England in last year’s winning team at the women’s Home Internationals, alongside another competitor, Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe). English girls’ champion Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay) helped England win the girls’ Home Internationals, while Mimi Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow) has represented England at U16 level.

Players from further afield include Gabrielle MacDonald, who was Scottish amateur champion in 2014, and compatriot Gemma Batty who recently won the Slovenian international.

All competitors play 36 holes on the first day and the top 16 players go forward to the match play stages.