Lucy takes title

TWO years after becoming the youngest winner of the Hertfordshire Ladies Amateur Championship, Lucy Williams claimed the title again at Knebworth on Sunday with an accomplished performance full of promise for the future.

TWO years after becoming the youngest winner of the Hertfordshire Ladies Amateur Championship, Lucy Williams claimed the title again at Knebworth on Sunday with an accomplished performance full of promise for the future.

Her delight at regaining the title followed another success only four days earlier, when the 18-year-old Mid Herts player, now on a golf scholarship, was the only girl in the team of six as Birmingham University caused an upset by beating St Andrews in the final of the British Universities Championship at Lindrick.

The Herts event resolved itself into a tale of three champions - Tina Jeary, winner three times, Alison Franklin, twice winner and defending titleholder, and Lucy, who won on her first appearance in the championship at Ashridge in 2006, and last year reached the quarter finals.

The trio all reached the semi-finals, with Tina (Bishops Stortford) winning through against Lucy Glyn (Porters Park), 3&2, while Alison (Harpenden) and Lucy came together in what turned out to be the most tense clash of the championship which ended in dramatic fashion.


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Alison went one ahead at the first but Lucy was level at the fifth, only for Alison to go ahead again, and so the match continued, with Alison being one up and then back to all square, before Lucy won the 18th when she holed from 10ft as Alison failed from 20ft.

After never being in arrears, it all went wrong for Alison as she found a bunker in the play-off at the first hole. "I had never done that all week," she said after a fine drive, no doubt pumped up. Lucy was on the green in two, putting dead from 25ft as Alison, 15ft away in three, failed to hole,

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After never being ahead until the 19th hole of the semi-final, Lucy went straight into the lead over Tina in the final, winning the first and second holes with birdies, holing from 5ft and 12ft, and by the turn she was five up.

She gained the advantage from the start, outdriving Tina by up to 20 yards and, after a half at the third, where Lucy missed from 5ft and another half at the short 4th, where both hit their tee shots to 4ft, for birdies, Tina had the chance to cut the margin to one hole at the fifth but missed a 6ft birdie putt. Lucy won the sixth, holing from 20ft for birdie, the seventh for par and the eighth for birdie.

From then on, both had chances, Tina seeing putts slip agonisingly by, but they settled for pars before Lucy ran out the winner by 5&4.

After receiving the trophy from Herts county president Ann Green, Lucy paid an emotional tribute, dedicating her victory to the late Ruth Rees, a former ladies captain of Mid Herts, who had caddied for her when she first won the title. This time her caddie was her colleague on the university winning team, Andy Smedley.

After qualifying with rounds of 73, 79, Lucy beat her Mid Herts clubmate Lara Cornell 6&4 and Lucinda Mileham (Aldwickbury Park) 3&2 to reach the semi-final against Alison Franklin, while Tina beat her Bishops Stortford clubmate Morag Morrison 7&5 and Steph McEvoy (Old Fold Manor) 3&2 to meet Lucy Glyn.

Lucy Glyn had previously won two close matches against Charlie Field (Harpenden) by one hole and Harriet Key (South Herts) at the 19th.

Alison Franklin, who led the qualifiers by nine shots with rounds of 69, 74, reached the semi-finals beating Rosie Goodson (Mid Herts) 4&2 and Jackie Foster (Bishop's Stortford) 3&2, Jackie having earlier beaten former champion Sue Allison (Knebworth) 5&4. Lucinda Mileham beat Clare Partridge (Moor Park) 3&2; Harriet Key beat Sarah Saggers (East Herts) 6&5; Steph McEvoy beat Julie Dyke (Welwyn Garden City 5&4. Harriet Key won the Salver for players who lost in the matchplay stages.

The ladies championship was the forerunner to events to mark the centenary of the Knebworth Golf Club later this month, and next month the club will host the Herts County Championship from June 12-15.

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