Julie weathers the storm

DEFENDING champion Julie Brown defied the weather to stage an action replay and become number one seed for the matchplay stages of the English senior women’s championship at Woodhall Spa.

She ignored more strong winds and a final-hole downpour to score one-over par 73 on the Bracken course – and achieve her first goal of this championship.

Last year, when making her debut in senior golf, Brown was also top qualifier and she was determined to repeat the feat this time round. She managed it by a shot, pipping second seed Lindsey Shaw (Chevin) and reviving a friendly rivalry from their junior days.

“Lindsey was Derbyshire and I was Staffordshire and we played each other for years,” said Brown (Trentham), who went on to become a winner on the Ladies European Tour before reverting to amateur status.

Today, she improved by six shots on her opening round and put the difference down to “getting to grips with the course and the weather – and I didn’t have a three-putt.”

Brown (image © Leaderboard Photography) started on the ninth and dropped shots on just two holes, with a double on the 13th and a bogey on the first. She finished strongly, with birdies on the third and the par five sixth, where she almost holed her approach with a rescue club.

Tomorrow, she will play Jo Ashmore (Barnham Broom) who is demonstrating impressive stamina, having played all six rounds of the Norfolk ladies’ championship last weekend, where she was runner-up. She took the 16th and final place in the championship matchplay, on card countback from Debbie Richards (Burhill) and past champion Sue Dye (Delamere Forest).

The top 16 qualifiers include three former champions, Caroline Berry (Bromborough), Janet Melville (Royal Birkdale) and Chris Quinn (Hockley), together with the reigning British senior champion, Cath Rawthore (Sale).

The other players to make the cut are: Lulu Housman (Highgate), Jackie Foster (Bishop’s Stortford), Jo Shorrocks (Bigbury), Pat Wrightson (Huddersfield), Helen Lowe (Scraptoft), Joanna Galway (Pyecombe), Joan Pullen (Cooden Beach), Sue Penfold (Sherwood Forest), Karen Jobling (Richmond, Yorks).

The next 16 players will contest Flight Two.

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