Four former champions are safely through to the last 16 of the English Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
Cath Rawthore, Helen Lowe, Aileen Greenfield and Fiona Edmond (left to right, main image) progressed from the round of 32 without too much difficulty on a grey and chilly day at Market Rasen Golf Club.
Top seed Tracey Williamson also won through thanks to an emphatic 7&6 victory against Abbeydale’s Jane Oliver.
The newly crowned English Senior Women’s Stroke Play champion may well be the golfer to beat again this week with her game in good shape and confidence high.
However, with plenty of knowhow among her main rivals, Williamson is wise enough to appreciate that there could yet be a few twists and turns as the business end of the championship approaches.
The eventual champion will need to need to negotiate two rounds on Thursday and a further two on Friday to claim the Wendy Taylor Salver.
After recording a 3&2 victory over Paula Carver from Worthing, Greenfield, the 2018 winner at The Hallamshire, is hoping her form continues to improve day by day.
She said: “I didn’t play so well in the stroke play, but played better today.
“You can get more aggressive and you don’t worry so much about the next shot.
“Also, because I’m not the longest hitter, I just bosh my driver everywhere, so that’s fine.
“The course isn’t too long and that means it’s also nice to hit irons rather than rescue clubs for every second shot.
“The greens are rolling beautifully too.”
Rawthore, a member at Sale, was victorious in this event five years ago when the championship was staged at Ross-on-Wye.
A 5&4 win over Burnham and Berrow’s Gill Brown booked Rawthore a place in the last 16 on a course that she likes, but which presents a number of challenges.
“The front nine doesn’t sit brilliantly with me,” she admitted.
“You can’t open your shoulders and go for it – but then it opens up and I feel happier on the back nine.
“On the front nine, Gill was fabulous, but I did well on 10th and birdies on 12 and 13 turned it in my favour.
“We both played steady golf, but the birdies got me over the line.
“My game is in a reasonable order – golf comes and goes, doesn’t it?
“I’m the same as anyone else, in match play anything can happen, but I’m happy to be through.”
Lowe, from Scraptoft, found herself pitched in against good friend Jane Sly.
In the end, the match turned out to be one-sided with the 2015 champion at Woodhall Spa negotiating safe passage to the last 16 with an 8&7 victory.
“Jane got off to a bad start and I made a few birdies and I did play well,” confirmed Lowe.
“We’re good friends and we were both a bit on edge at the start and I just settled first and putted well.
“I do feel quite good and I’m starting to get a bit more consistency.
“I’m trying not to place too much expectation on my week.”
Edmond, from Aldeburgh, was another former winner of this event who was able to win her match with a bit to spare.
Following an 8&7 win against Mill Hill’s Mary McDowall, the 2017 champion (pictured above|) said: “I’ve been struggling with elbow injuries for three years so it’s nice to play two days consecutively and not have too many problems with the elbow.
“In 2017 I came in with no expectations and I didn’t know what the senior circuit was all about – ignorance is bliss.
“I had one of those weeks where everything went well. Now I’m just happy to be back playing again.
“It feels like the game is coming together and I hope things keep getting better.
“Whoever you meet you need your best game to win as there are a lot of good players around.”
In the over 60s competition, top seed Carol Wild had to dig deep to defeat Janette McWhirter 3&2.
There was an epic battle between Stratford-upon-Avon clubmates Anne Parry and Gillian Curley.
The match went to the 21st hole before Parry edged through to the last eight in her quest to win the Ann Howard Trophy.
Photography credit: Leaderboard