Sophie leads way in matchplay qualifier

CLITHEROE international Sophie Lamb shot six-under par  to lead the qualifiers for the knockout stages of the English women’s open match play championship at Holme Hall, Lincolnshire.

lambThe 18-year-old  in Lancashire (Image © Leaderboard Photography) played 27 holes before dropping a shot, starting with four-under 69 and then adding 71. She finished the 36-hole qualifying one stroke ahead of Lincolnshire’s own India Clyburn (Woodhall Spa).

Scotland’s Gemma Batty also beat par, returning 69 in the second round for a one-under total, while New Zealand’s Chantelle Cassidy was fourth on level par.

They lead the 16 qualifiers who head into tomorrow’s match play. The cut fell on six-over par with Nottinghamshire’s Sophie Newlove (Beeston Fields) missing out on countback.

Lamb, who is playing in this event for the first time, reaped the reward of hard work on her putting with her father, Phil, and boyfriend, the England international Marco Penge.

“This year, I feel I’ve hit the ball well but my putting has let me down. I’ve worked really hard on it and it’s got a lot better,” she reported after holing comfortably from 15ft and rolling in other putts of 20 and 25ft.

“It’s been so nice to play parkland instead of links and this course is so nice,” she added. “If you hit it good off the tee it’s pretty scoreable, if you don’t you can knock up a big number without doing much wrong.”

Tomorrow, her first round opponent is the 2015 runner-up, Emily Coleman (Trentham). “I’m looking forward to it,” she remarked.

Clyburn, a past English girls’ champion who has played in winning England teams at the women and girls’ Home Internationals, carries local hopes into the match play.

“It’s nice to be on a local course which I’ve played lots of times. I know quite a lot of the members and it’s been good to have their support and have them walking round and watching me,” said the 19-year-old. 

Clyburn described her opening 69 as probably the best she has played recently and she followed up with a spectacular start to her second round, with four consecutive birdies on her front nine, before eventually signing for 72. “It was exciting, I was hitting really nice shots really close,” she said.

Tomorrow, Clyburn will play Katrina Gillum (Lilleshall Hall).

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