A field of 60 of the best players in the country assembled – one third women professionals, two thirds amateurs with maximum handicap of 5.
With a north-east breeze blowing, the par 72, 5966 yard course was in very good condition, and this was reflected in the excellent scores. The greens, running at 11.5 on the Stimpmeter, received much praise from all the players, many of whom had not played on such perfect surfaces since last summer!
Three professionals took top honours followed by a very strong challenge from two of the best amateurs in the country.
Emily Taylor, in her second year on the Ladies European Tour, from Pleasington in Lancashire, set the pace in the morning with a four under par round of 68 including four birdies. She followed this up in the afternoon with a more adventurous round of 72 – this time four birdies offset by four bogeys.
Emily won the Gold Cup by four shots from fellow professional Suzanne Dickens from Thorpe Wood, Peterborough who came in on 144 (73, 71). Third was Sophie Walker from Forest Pines, Lincolnshire on 145 (73, 72). In fourth spot and leading amateur was English Girls’ Champion Sophie Keech from Parkstone, Dorset with a score of 146 (72. 74) closely followed by Gabriella Cowley from Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire with a 147 (74, 73). Gabriella won the England Golf Girls’ Order of Merit in 2013, and she and Sophie are in the squad of six representing England at the French Under 21 championships in St. Cloud near Paris.
Emily Taylor, from a non golfing family, started playing golf at the age of nine under the eye of her grandfather who advised her to copy the swing of Tiger Woods! This she did, going on to win the English Girls, the Irish Ladies Strokeplay and three other titles before winning the England Women’s Order of Merit in 2012. Emily then went to tour school and qualified second, playing 36 under par for 9 rounds and gaining her full playing card for the Ladies European Tour. In her first year as a professional she had two top ten finishes and two top twenty finishes and retained her full playing card for the 2014 season in which she plans to play the full schedule and improve on her rookie year 69th place in the order of merit.
Emily has kicked off her year in fine style with her win at Roehampton on Saturday.