Top seed takes short route to semi-finals

Julie Brown

Top seed Julie Brown took just 24 holes today to march through the first two rounds and into the semi-finals of the English senior women’s championship at Sandy Lodge, near Watford.

Tomorrow she will play Debbie Richards of Surrey who, by contrast, played 20 holes in her quarter final alone, before beating Lulu Housman.

The other semi-final will be between four-times champion Chris Quinn of Hampshire and Katherine Russell of Sussex. Both players are former British senior champions.

Chris Quinn (Hockley) has masses of experience in this event – but this is new ground for the others. Julie Brown (Trentham) is playing in the championship for the first time as a new senior, while Debbie Richards (Burhill) and Katherine Russell (Royal Ashdown Forest) are taking part in the championship flight for the first time.

Julie, (pictured top) who is a past winner on the Ladies European Tour, spoke for them all when she looked forward to tomorrow and remarked: “I’m up for it!” She’s made short work of the matchplay so far, winning on the 11th in the first round and on the 13th in the quarter final.

Today she was clinical about hitting fairways and greens and, when she did miss an occasional target, she demonstrated a devastating short game, chipping in, chipping dead and holing from a distance. She won her first round match 8/7 and her quarter final against Berkshire champion Linda Hunt 6/5.

Debbie Richards won a great battle against Lulu Housman (Highgate) to take her place in the semi-final, with much of the deciding action hinging on the putting.

Lulu saw putts horseshoe out twice as Debbie won three holes in a row on the back nine. Debbie, in turn, three putted both the 17th and 18th to see her two-up lead disappear. However, after halving the 19th in par, she safely two-putted from behind the green on the 20th to win the match. “I’m delighted to get through,” she said.

Chris Quinn has worked hard for her place in the semi-finals. She secured her spot in the championship flight in a play-off; in the first matchplay round she came back from three down with three to play to defeat defending champion Janet Melville on the 20th. This afternoon, she defeated Cheshire’s Gillian Mellor on the 17th by the margin of 2/1.

“I just can’t believe I’ve got through!” she said. “I’m not playing at my best, but I have driven the ball really well which has helped.”

The final game, between Katherine Russell and Sue Dye of Cheshire pitted two senior internationals against each other. The contest was tight over the opening holes but on the back nine Katherine gradually created a three-up lead. Sue pulled one back when she won the 16th, but a half on 17 decided the 2/1 result.

“I played quite well and a lot better than I did over the two qualifying days!” said Katherine. “Today it all came together, I’m striking the ball well and looking forward to tomorrow.”

The second flight semi-finals will be between Carole Weir (Beaconsfield) and Felicity Christine (Woking); and Barbara Laird (Sandiway) and Caroline Berry (Bromborough).

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