Franklin to lead ladies

PUBLISHED: 11:32 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 May 2010

NEW Herts ladies champion Alison Franklin heads the county team next month hoping to repeat the historic victory of a year ago when they became the first champions of the newly-created East Region. Charlie Douglass will again be in the team, this time as

NEW Herts ladies champion Alison Franklin heads the county team next month hoping to repeat the historic victory of a year ago when they became the first champions of the newly-created East Region.

Charlie Douglass will again be in the team, this time as English champion.

After the county championship at Old Fold Manor earlier this month, when Alison beat Tina Jeary 6&5 to join her opponent as a three times winner of the title, the team was selected for this year's match against four opposing counties at Stockbrook Manor at Billericay in Essex from June 22-26. With their victory last year at Newmarket, when Lucy Williams as county champion led the team, the Herts ladies qualified for the English county championship final at Long Ashton and their target now is to reach the English final again and go one better after finishing runners-up to winners Yorkshire.

The team is: Alison Franklin (Harpenden), Ellie Brede (Porters Park), Hannah Burke (Mid Herts), Charlie Douglass (Brocket Hall), Charlie Field (Bishops Stortford), Lucy Glyn (Porters Park), Tina Jeary (Bishops Stortford), Harriet Key (South Herts), Lucinda Mileham (Aldwickbury Park), Steph McEvoy (Old Fold Manor), Lucy Williams (Mid Herts). Hannah Burke returns from university in Texas to join the team.

BRIAN DAVIS passed up the chance of gaining a place in the Open Championship at Turnberry in July as he pinned his hopes this week on gaining his first victory on the US Tour in Texas. And he found support in the difficult decision he faced from three times Open champion Nick Faldo.

Playing the best golf of his life, former Herts Boys and Colts champion Davis, now based in America, had finished runner-up on Sunday in the Byron Nelson Classic, matching the winner's final round 64, to follow fifth place in the two previous events.

With this week's Colonial tournament at Fort Worth, Texas, clashing with the R and A's American zone qualifying event for The Open, also in Texas, Davis felt in his present form he had every chance of gaining that first US win, so made the decision to play in the tour event. And support came from Faldo, now commentating on American TV, who said the course was just right for Davis's game.

Twice Davis has been close to achieving that first win and again on Sunday, Davis was challenging for the lead until pipped by Rory Sabatini, who birdied four holes over a five-hole stretch coming in for a record 19 under par to win by two strokes, despite Davis holing a 26ft. eagle putt on the 16th.

After six pars starting the final round, two strokes behind Sabatini, Davis birdied four of the next five holes and continued to press Sabatini all the way, finishing 17 under par after rounds of 68 65 66 64 for 263, with Sabatini 68 64 65 64 for 261.

Davis has been in superb form in recent weeks, having eight consecutive rounds in the 60's and has the tour's best return with 20 consecutive rounds of par or better.

And it has all added up to big pay days for the 34-year-old former Herts county player, with his winnings this year totalling $1,579,306, of which $1,263,000 has come in the last three events. Sunday's second place earned him $702,000.

Davis, who is in 107th place in the world rankings, is sad to miss the chance of playing in The Open, making his last appearance at Carnoustie two years ago, when he said just to play in the Open was always his dream. But the chance to win in America was not to be missed.

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