Hampshire’s Kevin Quinn took a leaf out of his wife’s book today when he won his first senior title, joining Kent’s Julie Ballard in the winners’ circle at the Senior Men and Women’s South Regional Tournament at Liphook.
Julie clinched the women’s title with a second round score of 39 points – the best of the day from any competitor – after she went round today in three-over par gross.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said the six-handicapper from Littlestone, who endured a long wait before her victory was confirmed.
Meanwhile Kevin, who was two off the pace at the halfway stage, thought he’d blown his chances when he came in with a second round score of 33 points. But it was enough to give him a total of 70 points and a winning margin of one point over Surrey’s Bill Quain and Martin Leo of Sussex.
The Blackmoor player reported afterwards that he’d “had to dig in deep, play it one shot at a time – and try and do it like the missus!” Chris Quinn, who caddied for him over the back nine, is an England senior international who has amassed one British and six English titles in a remarkable senior career.
At the start of play today, Julie Ballard was one point off the halfway lead set by Val Ford of Dorset. She was out early, playing in the third group and teeing off as a hot air balloon rose above the course at the start of a glorious morning.
Her score of 39 points, and a total of 75, leapfrogged her over Val Ford and set an unbeatable target. Val, a nine-handicapper, added 35 to her opening 37 and finished four points ahead of third placed Fiona Crampton-Smith of Hertfordshire (35 33).
Julie, who plays for the Kent seniors and is a past county senior champion, laid the foundations of her win with her first round score of 36 points. It included a couple of birdies – one of them on the 18th – which each amassed four points. She kept herself out of trouble throughout her 36 holes, notably avoiding the spectacular heather.
Kevin Quinn was also lying second at the start of today’s play, two points adrift of Martin Leo of Sussex, who opened with an impressive 39 points.
Martin started well today, but fell away after finding too many bunkers. “It was a tale of woe,” he said, although he held on well enough to take third place behind Bill Quain.
However, Kevin was also struggling. “The wind had changed direction from yesterday and I had a couple of crucial mis-clubs on six and seven.”
But he dug in and remembered his old mantra: “You just have to do the best you can and come off the golf course and say I gave it 100 per cent on every shot.”
The event turned into a trip down memory lane for one competitor. It was here, at Liphook, in 1967 that Penny Burrows – now Thompson – won the British girls’ championship and she made the journey by train from her Lancashire home to revisit the Hampshire course.
She brought a photograph of her with the trophy and her match cards, showing her low scores as she made her way through the matchplay rounds, never once going past the 17th hole, where she won the final.
“It’s been fantastic,” she said of her return. “My golf hasn’t been very good but it’s been just lovely and I have really enjoyed it.”
Image: Kevin Quinn and Julie Ballard (© Leaderboard Photography)
Leading final scores
75 pts Julie Ballard (Littlestone) 36 39
72 Val Ford (Parkstone) 37 35
68 Fiona Crampton-Smith (Porters Park) 35 33
70 Kevin Quinn (Blackmoor) 37 33
69 Bill Quain (West Byfleet) 34 35; Martin Leo (Bognor Regis) 39 30