Ten women golfers – led by Dawn Hodge from the Isle of Wight – are heading to England Golf’s Grand Medal Final after qualifying this week in the South region medal final at Royal Blackheath in Kent.
They are: Dawn Hodge of Shanklin & Sandown; Terri Linskey of Wrotham Heath, Kent; Deidre Ann Hope-Gates of Lindfield, Sussex; Melanie Newport of Sutton Green, Surrey, Judy Ames of Royal Winchester, Hampshire; Stephanie Marshall of Birchwood Park, Kent; Jo Elder of Wimbledon Common, Surrey; Junko Moriuchi of Hendon, Middlesex; Lynda Guppy of Cuddington, Surrey; Pat Whitty of Hever Castle, Kent.
They’ll play off with qualifiers from five other events to find the country’s top handicap golfer at the Grand Medal Final at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire on Thursday, 13 August. It will be a feature of the new Golf Week festival, staged by England Golf to create a national grand finale for a host of handicap and team championships.
The qualifiers were among more than 100 women club winners who took part in the South regional medal final at Royal Blackheath in Kent, which was the first England Golf championship event of the 2015 season. All the regional finalists had returned the best four scores at their club in the England Golf Medals during 2014.
Dawn Hodge (pictured) played under her 11-handicap for a net score of one-under 71 to win the event and claim her place in her first national final. “It will be brilliant, absolutely fantastic,” she said. "I’m not used to playing in big competitions and it’s been a brilliant experience. You don’t normally have tee markers and a giant scoreboard at club competitions and it makes you feel special!”
Dawn, who has been playing golf for just over four years, made a good start to her qualifying round, but then had a triple bogey on a par three.
“It put the pressure on my game and I thought it was slipping away, but I steadied myself and tried to play steadily and not go for anything heroic. I had a really lovely day. The course suited me perfectly, the greens were excellent and my playing partners were lovely and very supportive.”
Qualifying scores - Par 72 CSS 73
71 Dawn Hodge (Shanklin & Sandown, hcp 11)
72 Terri Linskey (Wrotham Heath, 11)
73 Deidre Ann Hope-Gates (Lindfield, 10); Melanie Newport (Sutton Green, 6)
74 Judy Ames (Royal Winchester, 14); Stephanie Marshall (Birchwood Park, 5); Jo Elder (Wimbledon Common, 15)
75 Junko Moriuchi (Hendon, 6); Lynda Guppy (Cuddington, 19); Pat Whitty (Hever Castle, 14)
The other five regional finals are:
South West at Weston-Super-Mare on Wednesday 15 April
East at Bishops Stortford on Friday 24 April
Midlands South at Wellingborough on Sunday 10 May
Midlands North at Rothley Park on Wednesday 20 May
North at Slaley Hall on Saturday 23 May