The only thing hotter than the conditions on day one of the Senior Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Frilford Heath Golf Club was Amanda Mayne’s putter.
The Somerset golfer was the only player under par on a day when the stifling heat of 35 degrees centigrade made scoring incredibly difficult on the Green Course at the Oxfordshire venue.
The former England international racked up five birdies on her way to a two-under par round of 68 – giving her a three-shot lead going into tomorrow’s second round of the 54-hole championship.
After a draining four hours in the worst of the heat, Mayne said: “I was quite solid and my putter was very hot – the weather was very hot too!
“I’m very happy with my score.”
Until Mayne’s late charge, the best of the day looked like being a one-over par round of 71 which had been achieved by no fewer than four players – Fiona Edmond, Kate Evans, Jackie Foster and Jane Rees.
The quartet are tied in second place after a gruelling challenge.
Evans (pictured below, centre) used local knowledge – she’s a member at Frilford Heath – to good advantage.
She added: “I’m originally from Northern Ireland – this is very hot for me as you can tell from my very red face.
“Tomorrow my group starts at mid-day so it will be probably even worse. Good luck to everyone. It’s a battle to survive in that heat.
“I played very steadily. It’s my own course and I know the greens and I putted very well.”
Another of the players tied for second is England international Foster.
The golfer from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire is no stranger to doing well in this event. Last year she finished runner-up to winner Aileen Greenfield and won the championship in both 2016 and 2017.
This year, the expectations are low, but the competitive spirit remains intact.
She said: “I haven’t played much competitive golf, I’m just here to enjoy it.
“It was nice to be out earlyish and avoid the worst of the heat.
“I’m happy with a 71.”
Defending champion Greenfield remains in the hunt too after a three-over par round of 73 left the Pyecombe golfer in a tie with four others in eighth spot.
After a second round of stroke play, the top 45 and ties will make their way into the final day’s play on Thursday.
In the handicap competition, Surrey’s Kathleen Lucey leads the way a shot clear of Andrea Sims with that competition concluding after a further 18 holes on Wednesday.
Details of the first day’s play are available on the Senior Women’s Amateur Stroke Play homepage.