‘Surprised’ champions retain Brenda King foursomes

2013 Brenda King winners - Tracy Atkin and Claire Dowling

Defending champions Claire Dowling and Tracy Atkin retained the senior women’s Brenda King Foursomes at Gog Magog, Cambridge – to their great surprise.

“We thought we’d thrown it away,” said Claire as she recounted the tale of their last five holes: bogey, bogey, bogey, double bogey, par. Tracy added: “It’s a bit of a surprise, we never imagined we’d still win. (Image © Leaderboard Photography)

But despite the finish they pulled off a one-stroke win over the Surrey pair of Alison Gee and Debbie Richards, while Staffordshire’s Sue Spencer and Sally Sketcher were third, two shots further back.

Sharing fourth prize were the Frilford Heath pairing of Annie Gowing and Kate Evans who have come so close over recent years, having also been runners-up twice and third. “We’re the bridesmaids,” laughed Annie.

Claire (Copt Heath) and Tracy (Leamington & County) have played in this event twice and won twice, building on a friendship which dates back to their days as internationals. But, as they came down the 18th at the end of their second round they were planning their ‘retirement’. “We were talking about packing it in – but now we’ll be back next year!” said Tracy.

They opened their defence yesterday with a score of 78 on the Wandlebury course, which put them in a share of second place and a stroke behind the Gee/Richards combination.

Today, on the Old course, they reached the turn in two-over par, before they began to falter, eventually returning a second round score of 79.

Behind them Alison Gee (Walton Heath) and Debbie Richards (Burhill) had lost their slender lead over the front nine but they kept battling, holing a birdie putt on 15 and hitting the pin on 16. With one hole to play they were sharing the lead once more, only to bogey the last to end their challenge.

This was also their second appearance in the event, having come fifth last year. “Perhaps it’ll be third time lucky,” said Debbie as she looked ahead to next year.

The handicap trophy was won by Sue Spencer (Whittington Heath) and Sally Sketcher (Trentham), who were playing in the Brenda King for the first time. Sue is a past Staffordshire captain, while Sally was simultaneously the second team captain.

Leading final scores
157 Claire Dowling (Copt Heath) & Tracy Atkin    (Leamington and County) 78 79
158 Alison Gee (Walton Heath) & Debbie Richards (Burhill) 77 81
160 Sue Spencer (Whittington Heath) & Sally Sketcher (Trentham)    82 78
162 Annie Gowing & Kate Evans (Frilford Heath) 82, 80; Karen Thompson & Gabi Heuchel (East Berkshire) 79 83
165 Julie Ballard (Littlestone) & Sheila Stirling (Royal Mid Surrey) 83 82; Suzette Worthington & Paula Crabtree (Bristol & Clifton) 82 83