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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jamie-Leigh, only 14, shares lead
in English women's championship

Leicestershire 14-year-old Jamie-Leigh Voss holds a share of the lead after the first day of the English Women’s Close Amateur Championship at Ganton in Yorkshire.
The schoolgirl from Kirby Muxloe Golf Club returned a two-over par 74 and is tied at the top of the table with Gloucestershire’s Charlotte Ellis (Minchinhampton).
Their steady play defied the cold, windy conditions which tested players – and which contributed to more than one 10 on the scorecards.
Jamie-Leigh, who plays off scratch, made her debut in this tournament last year and is determined to build on the experience.
Her target is to make it through the two rounds of strokeplay qualifying and be among the 32 players who go forward to the match-play stages of the championship.
She’s given herself a good start.
"I played much better than I thought I would,” she said.
Highlights of her day included holing a couple of 30-footers – and playing alongside Yorkshire star Emma Brown (nee Duggleby) of Malton & Norton.
“That was a lovely experience,” said Jamie-Leigh. “I was so excited to be playing with her.”
Charlotte Ellis, who won the 2006 English mid-amateur title, remarked: “This is a tough course and overall I’m pleased with how it went.
“The conditions weren’t easy and the greens are big – so you have to be able to lag well if you don’t hit it close.”
Charlotte, who had four birdies in her round, has been working hard on her game since the winter when, she says, she went “completely backwards.” She went on: “It’s nice to be back to where I want to be.”
One shot behind the leaders are Hampshire’s Liz Bennett (Brokenhurst Manor), who makes her Curtis Cup debut later this month; Staffordshire’s Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton), who recently won the French lady junior championship; and Kent’s Claire Aitken (The London) who is the c
English mid-amateur champion.
Claire is just making a golfing comeback after having her appendix removed in March. “I wasn’t allowed to start playing until the beginning of the month and so I’m really pleased with my score,” she said.
She was the model of consistency with 15 pars and three bogeys.
They are followed by a pair of teenagers on 76: England girl international Rachel Connor, 17, (Manchester) and Cheshire’s Charlotte Wild, 18, (Mere).
Charlotte, who trains with the English Women’s Golf Association’s Select North Squad, has already retained the Cheshire girls’ championship and won the Northern Foursomes this season. Defending champion Naomi Edwards (Ganton) opened with a 77, which included an eagle three on the long sixth.
She leads the Yorkshire challenge which also includes: 79 Ellie Robinson (Middlesborough); 80 Sara Garbutt (Ganton); 82 Laura Harvey (Richmond); 84 Emma Brown (Malton & Norton), Nikki Dunn (Harrogate); 88 Julie Brown (Ganton).