Yorkshire sisters-in-law Kerry Lamb and Tina Sampson put on the championship style and won the PING women’s fourball betterball Grand Final on countback in the rain at Gainsborough Golf Club.
The pair, from Tankersley Park, Sheffield, arrived on the tee with caddies wearing named bibs – and then put on a show to match, amassing 42 points in tough conditions on the Karsten Lakes course.
They pipped Bedfordshire teenagers Luca Thompson and Imogen Morton King on countback, thanks to their better back nine of 22 points.
“It’s just amazing,” said Kerry, a 10-handicapper. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, other than having my kids!” Tina, who plays off 27, added: “We are really, really chuffed.”
This was a first national final for the pair and Kerry commented: “We are so proud, we’ve been talking about it for weeks and getting on everyone’s nerves.” Tina went on: “When you think of all the thousands of women who entered and that we were in the top 50, it’s amazing and we bore everyone!”
The tournament – which is run by England Golf – attracted entries from 16,610 women from 885 clubs and the best qualifying score was 53 points. The top 50 pairs nationwide qualified for today’s Grand Final, and the next 50 played in yesterday’s Plate Final.
Kerry and Tina play together regularly, they know each other’s game inside out, they’re both very competitive – and it proved to be a winning combination.
Kerry was comfortably below her handicap, starting with a birdie three on the 1st and adding another on the 14th, while Tina played her part. “I had a few rough holes, but I expect to off my handicap, and I knew I would come in on a few holes,” she said.
Runners-up Luca, 15, and Imogen, 16, (Pavenham Park) started very strongly and their betterball score was one-over par after nine holes and they had amassed 22 points by the turn. But although they scored well on the inward half it wasn’t quite enough to win and they confessed to a mixture of disappointment and pleasure.
“It’s such a good event,” said Luca, who has been playing golf for 18 months and has a 13 handicap. “England Golf events are so different, they really feel like a championship.” She reached the national final of the Bridgestone Chase Your Dream Trophy which was played during the recent England Golf Week.
Imogen, an 11-handicapper and club champion, is a Girls Golf Rocks ambassador in Bedfordshire, encouraging other girls to play golf as part of the project run by England Golf and the Golf Foundation. Tomorrow, she and two other ambassadors will make up a county team in the pro-am of the Bridgestone Challenge pro-am at Luton Hoo.
Third place, on 41 points, went to another Yorkshire pair, Kath Tate and Terri Williamson of Bedale Golf Club, who also played in last year’s Grand Final. Then, Kath wasn’t very well and although they managed to finish mid-table, they were determined to return this year. "We really wanted to enjoy the day, it’s a fantastic occasion and something you can really look forward to, it’s special for us.”
The other prize winners were: Nicky Iles and Catherine Grief (Crondon Park, Essex) with 40pts, on countback from Rita Bleasdale and Elizabeth Sturrock (Gt Yarmouth & Caister, Norfolk); 39pts Coleen and Harriet Painter (Brocton Hall, Staffordshire).
The championship finals also offer the players the chance to visit PING’s European Custom Fitting Centre and to take part in competitions. The putting competition was won by Nicky Iles and the ‘find your yardage’ challenge by Gillian Creed (Olton, Warwickshire.)
Dave Fanning, marketing director for PING Europe remarked: “It’s 12 years since we came up with the concept of a ladies’ championship which was inclusive of all standards of golfer. With the full enthusiasm of England Golf we are able to put on a great event and the 16,000+ people who play each year are testament to how popular it is.”
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Caption : Tina Sampson (left) and Kerry Lamb (image copyright Leadboard Photography).