Cumbria’s Natasha Slater and Bedfordshire’s Georgia Staroscik are the toast of their counties after winning national titles in a weather-hit championship at Woodhall Spa.
They respectively became the women and girls’ English County Champion of Champions on a day when torrential rain flooded the greens on the Bracken course and the tournaments were reduced to 18 holes.
Slater wasn’t surprised. The 17-year-old from Ulverston Golf Club had looked at the weather forecast and said: “I thought it might be good to start well.” She did exactly that, shooting two-under 70 to win by three shots.
She had, in her own words, an interesting round. She started on the 10th and was two-under at the turn, helped by three birdies and one dropped shot. On her second nine she didn’t have a par, but her five birdies, three bogeys and a double, brought her safely home.
“It was my last comp of the season and I wanted to get a good result so it was nice to win. It’s one of the biggest events I’ve ever won so it’s really good – and really good for the county.”
She wasn’t phased by the weather. “I don’t mind, it makes it a bit interesting – and it’s just like being at home!”
Her closest rivals for the women’s title, on one-over par 73, were defending champion Catherine Roberts of Pleasington, Lancashire; Megan Garland of The Oaks, Yorkshire; and Gemma Allman of Stanmore, Middlesex.
In the girls’ championship, Staroscik shot two-over 74 and won by a stroke from Caley McGinty of Knowle, Gloucestershire. Third place went to Maria Toledo Bailey of Walmley, Warwickshire.
Staroscik, 16, arrived at Woodhall Spa with few expectations. “I wanted to do the best I could and may be get my handicap cut,” said. “It’s quite surreal to win, it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever won.”
She started her round very smoothly and, playing from the 10th was one under par after nine. Her inward half included the challenge of a double bogey on the fourth, where her ball plugged in a bunker, but she held on solidly in the tough weather conditions. “Everything was soaking wet and it was difficult putting across the greens; it was really tough to know how hard to hit it,” she said.
This is Staroscik’s best golfing year to date and the Leighton Buzzard member now plays off four. Next year she aims to get down to two and to play in the English girls’ championship. “England events are great,” she said.
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Caption: Natasha Slater (left) and Georgia Staroscik (image copyright Leaderboard Photography).