Susie’s Par 3 triumph completes a hat trick

Hampshire’s Susie Cave completed a hat trick for her club when she won the English women’s Par 3 championship at her first attempt, at Ampfield Golf Club in her home county.

Susie is the third member of Blackmoor Golf Club to win the individual title in the past four years, following Esther Sparrow in 2017 and Jane Shergold in 2015.

Susie, a 13-handicapper, scored level par 54 to win the title by a shot.

But what put the icing on the cake for her was watching the winning team of three girl golfers from Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire: Jessica Pilgrim, Rachel Mackinlay and Fraya Shiell.

“It was one of those days when everything went right, it was wonderful,” she said. “But what made it for me was the team that won. It was just brilliant to see this group of young girls, the future of golf, coming through and winning something. They were in front of us all the way round and they were inspiring to watch.”

The three girls are all part of the junior scholarship programme at Stoke Park. Fraya is 11 and plays off 20 handicap, Rachel is 12 and a 13-handicapper, while Jessica, 13, plays off 10 and is a Young Ambassador for England Golf and the Golf Foundation.

Jessica’s father, Rupert, commented: “We knew that all three girls would have to play well for them to have a chance at the team prize and that would mean them staying calm and focused for the whole 18 holes.

“Ampfield is a difficult test due to the large number of dense trees that have to be avoided and the greenside bunkers and water which catch out any wayward shots.

“The girls didn’t start well with bogeys and double bogeys, but after three poor holes Jessica decided to get the others to relax and talk about the animals around and on the course – and anything else that would take their mind off the pressure.

“At one point a lady took out the flag stick and a duck walked up and stuck its head in the hole! They all relaxed, settled down and found a rhythm, and they started hitting in pars and a birdie.

“The nicest moment of the day came on the 16th hole, where all the competitors who had finished watched Fraya, then Rachel, then Jessica hit their balls onto the green. A large warm round of applause was heard after each shot and the competing ladies were so very supportive. That is why women’s golf is so special!”

The popular championship provides a mix of good competition and a dash of garden party atmosphere – helped by cake and Pimm’s for the (adult) competitors.

“The venue is really nice, friendly and warm and has a real party atmosphere about it, said Susie. She added: “It was so nice to play a course that was really green – so many round here have burned up – and the greens were immaculate.”

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Caption: Champion Susie Cave with the winning team, from left, Fraya Shiell, Jessica Pilgrim and Rachel Mackinlay.