Burnham Beeches date for top senior women

ENGLAND’S leading senior women golfers will help put the swing into the 125th anniversary celebrations at Burnham Beeches Golf Club in Buckinghamshire.

They’ll be gathering at the club next week for the English senior women’s open stroke play championship – the first national championship to be hosted by Burnham Beeches  in its long history.

The club is no stranger, however, to major county events and last time it held the BB&O (Berks, Bucks & Oxon) men’s championship it was won by the then amateur Luke Donald.

More than 90 women – including 14 from Buckinghamshire – will contest the title on  June 14-16. They include the defending champion Lulu Housman of Middlesex and the 2015 runner-up, Aileen Greenfield of Sussex, who went to a play-off before the destination of last year’s title was decided.

Housman is one of a number of internationals in the field, including Cheshire’s Cath Rawthore who won the English senior close championship last month and is a past stroke play champion.

Burnham Beeches is fielding four competitors – Catherine Smith, Henrietta Watkins, Pauline Olliver and Lynn Fitzpatrick – and many more members will be helping behind the scenes to make the event a success.

Patrick Dawson, the club’s general manager, said: “This is new territory for us and there’s a lot of interest among the membership, with a good number putting their names forward as volunteers.”

Other local players include Buckinghamshire senior county captain Liz Keens (Gerrards Cross) and team members Maureen Dawson (Buckingham), Cathy Armstrong (Ellesborough) and Carole Weir (Beaconsfield), who has a good record in English senior events. She’s a past winner of Flight Two in the close championship and has won the handicap prize in the stroke play.

The course is close to ancient woodland and there are many mature trees lining its fairways, calling for accurate play. But, says Patrick Dawson: “It always plays fair.”

The full field will play 18 holes on each of Tuesday and Wednesday and the leading 45 players and ties will qualify for the final round on Thursday.

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