Battling Bronte is Euro champion

BRAMHALL star  Bronte Law made up a seven-shot deficit with a brilliant closing 66 to win the European women’s amateur championship at Hooks Golf Club in Sweden.

Bronte Law 2016She birdied the last to finish on 11-under and snatch a one-shot victory over overnight leader Leslie Cloots of Belgium. Law is only the third English player to win this title and the first since 2000 and her victory caps a superb season.

Law, the world number three, has helped GB&I to win the Curtis Cup with a perfect score of five wins from five matches; then she helped England to become European team champions – and she’s been named as the top woman player in US college golf.

“It feels a bit like a story, something you dream off and I couldn’t have written it any better myself, which is very special. It’s quite incredible,” said the 21-year-old.

Law made the difficult decision to pull out of last week’s English women’s amateur to rest and concentrate on her European title ambition and she was rewarded with the biggest individual win of her career so far.

“Winning the English twice (in 2014 and ’15) was a big achievement for me and I didn’t want to pull out, but I really wanted to win this one. I’m just very happy that I pulled it off, it’s a relief really.”

Law posted seven-under 65 in the first round of the European championship and was one shot off the lead, but in the second round she slipped back with 76. “It made it very difficult for me,” she said. “I really couldn’t find the fairways and round this golf course you can’t do that. I got on the range and tried to find what I’d lost – and the one thing that really made a difference today was that I rarely missed a fairway.”

In the third round she shot 70, with bogeys on the last two holes and, as she left the course, she thought she might have blown it. But once she studied the scores she knew she could still win: “I thought I’d probably made my life difficult but I did believe, absolutely, that I could do it.”

In today’s final round she reached the turn in two-under, before starting back birdie, eagle, when she holed her pitching wedge shot on the par four 11th. “That was probably the highlight,” she said. “I was coming from a weird angle and I actually over hit it, but it took one hop and went straight in.”

Law added: “My dad rang me this morning and said he had a feeling I was going to shoot a really low number and win and the fact that it happened was really cool. The eagle on the 11th came at a really neat time and from there I never really looked back and I could see myself going lower and lower.”

Law’s next date is final qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open on Monday. She returns to university in Los Angeles in August and will go to LPGA qualifying school in October.

Leigh duo romp to Lombard Trophy final

LEIGH  amateur Steven Hewitt teamed up with former PGA Cup player Andrew Baguley to record an impressive victory at the Lombard Trophy regional final at Formby.

BagsHewitt (right) partnered head pro Baguley as they decimated the rest of the field with a 12 under par round of 60 to win by five shots from Vale of Llangollen’s Matthew Davies and Daniel Gibbon to earn their place in the £41,500 grand final, supported by Coca Cola, at  Pestana Golf Resort in Vila Sol on September 22-23.

And for Hewitt, a 26-year-old business development manager from Culcheth, it brought back some happy memories.

“I asked Andrew if he remembered the last time we’d played together, and he was puzzled at first. But it was nine years ago in a pro-am when I was 15 – and we won then as well,” he said.

“I told him it’d be nice to go back and make it a hat-trick in Portugal.

“But I was over the moon with the victory, my putter was on fire! It was the best golf I’d played all season. I’d been working on my short game this year.”

Five handicapper Hewitt cannot explained why he and Baguley were so far out on front.

“I honestly don’t have an answer for that, but I tend not to leave much out on the course that’s what happened,” he said.

“I got five birdies in a row and and there were two nett eagles, Andrew got three in a row on the back nine It was unreal.”

Baguley, who was a member of the victorious 2005 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team, will be returning to the final for the first time in 21 years when the event was played in San Lorenzo.

“I’ve been there before and it’ll be great to be back, I won the qualifier at Hesketh that year,” he said.

“We were eight under after nine holes and we knew we could win from there. We finished early in the day but we said that if anyone could beat us then good luck,

Cheshire players in women’s Euro showdown

SENIOR champions Cath Rawthore and Jackie Foster are in the six-strong England side for the European senior ladies’ team championship at Siarra Golf Club, Poland, from August 30 to 3September 3. 

RawthoreRawthore, from Cheshire (image © Leaderboard Photography) and Foster, from Hertfordshire, will be joined in the team by Julie Brown of Staffordshire, Karen Jobling of Yorkshire, Helen Lowe of Leicestershire and Katherine Russell of Sussex. Caroline Berry of Bromborough, Cheshire, is the reserve.

England’s recent record in this event is excellent, winning the gold medal in 2014 and the silver last year. Brown and Rawthore were members of both those teams and Lowe played in 2015. 

The team is composed of the top four players from the senior order of merit and two selectors’ picks. The automatic places were taken by Rawthore, Foster, Jobling and Russell.

The players

Julie Brown (Trentham) is the British senior champion and topped the England Golf senior order of merit last year. She won the English senior championship in 2014.

Jackie Foster (Bishops Stortford) is the English senior stroke play champion and was a semi-finalist in this year’s English senior amateur.

Karen Jobling (Richmond) was runner-up in the English senior amateur and finished 13th in the stroke play. Last year she also figured strongly in both championships.

Helen Lowe (Scraptoft) won the 2015 English senior amateur championship and had a top ten finish in the British seniors for the second year in succession. She was seventh in this year’s English stroke play.

Cath Rawthore (Sale) is the English senior amateur champion and a past winner of the stroke play title. She won the 2014 British seniors and topped the senior order of merit that year.

Katherine Russell (Royal Ashdown Forest) won the 2012 British senior championship, and has played for England in two senior home international matches, helping the team to victory in 2014. She led the qualifiers at this year’s English senior amateur and was ninth in the stroke play.

 

Lancashire aim to be six hits again

LANCASHIRE have selected a team of youth and experience as they bid to retain their Northern Counties Championship at Delamere Forest on August 3.

And hosts Cheshire will be seeking to avenge a two point defeat by their neighbours last year at Isle of Man club Mount Murray.

The Big Six, as the event is more commonly known, is also the qualifier for the English Finals.

Lancashire, who cleared that hurdle for the sixth time in eight years, went on to claim the coveted crown at Wychwood Park for the fourth occasion since 2008.

LANCS: Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park), Luke Kelley (Ashton-under-Lyne), Jack Clarkson (Lancaster), Reece Cranfield (Wigan), Ciaran Doherty (Bury), Henry Tomlinson (Royal Lytham & St Annes). Reserve:  James Rooney (West Lancs)

The Red Rose men will be back in action on August 6 as they bid to preserve their 100 per cent Daily Telegraph Northern Counties League record, entertaining Cheshire at Clitheroe.

LANCS: Mark Ashworth (Clitheroe), Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park), Luke Kelly (Ashton-under- Lyne), Henry Tomlinson (Royal Lytham), Jack Clarkson (Lancaster), Ciaran Doherty (Bury), Joe Brice (Manchester), James Rooney (West Lancs), Paul McFerran (Warrington), Reece Cranfield (Wigan), Jack Shelley (Formby), Sean Doherty (Rossendale).

Meanwhile, Lancashire boys will get a taste of Roses rivalry next week when they face Yorkshire in a mixed age match at Abbeydale on Monday (July 25) then entertain them at under-18 level at North Manchester on Friday (July 29).

Abbeydale – U16: Bradley Sibson (Chorley), Luke Bartram (Rossendale), Callum Sharratt (Fleetwood), Matthew Gresty (Huyton & Prescot). U15: Grady Rogerson (Royal Lytham & St Annes), John Wilding (Heysham), Louis Talarczyk (Blackpool NS), George Holland (S&A). U14: Mathew Jackman (S&A), Josh Lang (Hillside), Lucas Done (Heysham), Jack Wallbank (Ashton & Lea).

North Manchester – U18:  James Broadbent (Fairhaven), Jordan Whitehouse (Blackley), Joseph Bannan (Manchester), Ethan Davies (Royal Birkdale), Mark Hyde (S&A), Lewis Pownell (Fairfield), Christopher Rushton (Fairhaven),Tyler Smith (Worsley),Greg Holmes (Royal Birkdale), Luke Kelly (Ashton- under- Lyne), Harvey Talarczyk (Royal Lytham & St Annes), James Holland (Southport & Ainsdale),

 

 

Sky falls as BBC tops Open audience rating

THE BBC TV highlights programme on Sunday evening was watched by 1.5m, a considerably higher number than the audience of 1.1m who had watched the live coverage on Sky Sports during the afternoon.

These figures compare with 4.7m who watched the final round from St Andrews in 2015 (played on a Monday) and 5.5m who watched Rory McIlroy triumph at Royal Liverpool in 2014, both, of course, broadcast free-to-air by the BBC.

The viewing numbers are down but the quality of the golf played by Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson was inspiring and is already being described as classic, recalling the ‘duel in the sun’ played by Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry in 1977. In fact Nicklaus has written on Facebook, “Our round was really good, but this was better.” Few would argue with Jack!

Girl power will switch on in English Open

MORE than 250 young players will battle for honours in the English girls’ open championships at Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club next week.

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Taylor hoping for a real ‘tweet’ at Oxfordshire

FORMER PGA Cup player Barry Taylor believes he can use his experience of The Oxfordshire course to stage a challenge at the Titleist and FootJoy PGA Professional Championship.

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