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Monday, August 10, 2009

British girls championship first qualifying round

Tournament leader Noemi Jimeneze (left) and her nearest challenger Heidi Beck (images by Cal Carson Golf Agency, click on them to enlarge).

Carly meets the Bogey Man when

set to challenge for W Lancs lead

Level par with five holes to play, Carly Booth needed a couple of birdies to join retired Spanish golf professional’s daughter Noemi Jimenez from Malaga in the lead on the two-under-par 70 mark late in the long day which is the first qualifying round of the British girls’ open amateur championship.
But 17-year-old Carly from Comrie, who had come into the championship on a high, having won the St Andrews Links Trust Junior Ladies Open last week, ran up a double bogey 6 at the 14th and another 6, at the par-5 16th, to finish with a three-over-par 75 which could have been so much better.
Carly had birdied the first and fifth but sandwiched bogeys at the second and fourth between them in reaching the turn in par 36, one of the best of the day.
So, at the end of the day which was overcast in the morning with showers but brightened up in the afternoon when a wind got up to blow away the clouds, Carly shared the leading Scot tag with Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm), 16-year-old sister of Megan, the Scottish women’s amateur champion.
Carly, pictured above by Cal Carson Golf Agency, had halves of 36 and 39, Eilidh did it the other way round, which meant that Carly would have liked Eilidh’s inward half and Eilidh could have done with Carly’s outward nine.
Mind you, Eilidh did well well to get it out in 39 because she had a double bogey 5 at the short third and a double bogey 6 at the fifth where she took three shots to get on, then “three-putted for a long way away.”
Eilidh had a steady inward half of seven pars, a birdie 3 at the 15th – five wood, seven iron, 6ft putt – and one bogey, at the 13th where she was short in two.
I’ve never seen ground-hugging, bramble-strewn rough at a links course but West Lancashire certainly has so missing the fairways can trip a player up in more ways than one.
Eilidh did visit the rough at the short 12th but got up and down to save par.
Alyson McKechin (Elderslie) and Mortonhall’s Rachael Watton could not come up with a single birdie between them in returning scores of 89 (40-40) and 82 (43-39) respectively.
Lesley Atkins (Minto) had two birdies, at the short sixth and the par-4 10th, but she finished on 43 with halves of 42 and 41. Lesley had two bad runs. From the second to the fifth she dropped five shots, a double bogey 7 at the fifth and bogeys at the three holes before it.
The second bad patch covered the last six holes, each of which she bogeyed.
There are only five Scots playing. Although Jill Meldrum’s name appeared in the list of entries, she withdrew before the draw was made.
How sad that so few Scots girls are contesting the national championship for Under-18s.
With the help of five birdies, Noemi Jimenez, a slightly-built 15-year-old from Spain's Costa del Sol, was the first player in the field of 144 to break par with a two-under 70 (36-34) to be the new leader in the clubhouse before 2pm. At the end of play, around six hours later, the name of Jimenez was still there at the top of the leaderboard.
Although a cool breeze got up in the afternoon, the standard of scoring actually rose late in the day.
English girl international Heidi Baek (Felixstowe Ferry) came in after 6.30pm with a 71 (36-35), birdieing the seventh, 10th and 11th, to get within one shot of the long-time leader.
Heidi’s winning team-mate from last week’s Girls Home Internationals, Hannah Turland (Tidworth Garrison) shared third place with France’s Delacour Perrine and Spain’s Mandy Goyos, whose mother is English.
Only the players with the leading 64 aggregates at the end of Tuesday’s second stroke-play round will go forward to the match-play stages.
France (146) lead the team event from Sweden (150) with England (151) thirfd and Swsitzerlande (152) and Spain (154) still in the hunt. Strangely enough, the Spanish trio selected for the trio does not include the tournament leader!
Noemi Jimenez birdied the short third with a six-iron tee shot to within a foot of the flagstick. Then, after bogeying the sixth (through the back of the green) and the seventh (missed the green left), she notched her second birdie with a five-iron second shot to 5ft from the pin.
Her first birdie of the inward half came at the 10th where she played a great seven-iron approach to within only 18 inches of the cup.
A pitch-and-putt saved a par 5 at the long 11th before she birdied the 14th with another superb approach shot with a gap wedge to within 18inches.
She flirted with the railway line at the 15th, which cost her a bogey 5, but she cancelled that out with her fifth birdie, at the short 17th This time it was not so much the accuracy of her tee shot but the skill of her putting that produced a 2.
“I holed my longest putt of the round – about 20 metres (60ft) – so that was good!”
“I played in this championship for the first time last year in Scotland and lost in the second match-play round to the girl who became the champion (Laura Gonzalez-Escallon from Belgium,” said Noemi.
“I am feeling good about this championship because I won the Spanish junior girls championship for ages 15 and 16 years before I come here.”
What does she think of links golf?
“It’s not my favourite kind of golf but I can play it and I like the West Lancashire links.” Noemi’s dad, Antonio Jimenez, started her playing golf when she was six years old.
“No, we are not related to Miguel Angel Jimenez (the European Tour player). A lot of people have Jimenez as a name in Spain.”
Until Noemi returned her 70, it was an English 15-year-old who was the leader in the clubhouse – Wiltshire’s 15-year-old Hannah Turland with a par-matching 72.
Still on a high from helping England retain the Girls’ Home Internationals’ championship for the Stroyan Cup at Fairhaven Golf Club, also in Lancashire, Hannah, a member at Tidworth Garrison Golf Club, deviated from par only twice in her round.
“I had a bogey 6 at the long fifth where I was in the left rough but I almost saved par with my putt, which lipped out,” said Hannah, whose father owns a public house.
“My only birdie came at the 17th (158yd) where I hit an eight iron to six feet and holed the putt. I was hitting the ball pretty straight, didn’t miss many fairways or greens in regulation although I did hole a good putt – about 12 feet – to get a par 4 at the seventh after I had pulled my approach.
“I don’t really know the course at all. Played it only twice in practice rounds.”
Hannah, who took up golf when she was 8 ½ years old, has played in this championship before without setting the heather on fire.
Maria Puisite, a 17-year-old from Latvia, had four birdies in a round of 73 (36-37). Maira had a 2 at the short third, a 4 at the long fifth and 3s at the par-4 eighth and 14th. She dropped her shots at the first, foufrth, sixth, 13th and 16th.
It was providing a good day for 15-year-olds with another from that age group, Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough) posting a 74 which had a birdie at the fourth and bogeys at the fifth, eighth and 15th – all the rest were pars in halves of 37.
Meghan’s dad David is a European Tour director.
And yet another 15-year-old, Anna-Lena Kraemer (Germany) hit the 74 mark, thanks to a brilliant inward half of 40 – birdies at the 11th and 13th, surrounded by seven pars.
Anna-Lena had taken 40 to the turn, with a double bogey 6 at the fourth. She did birdie the short sixth.

Prior to Hannah Turland’s effort, the best score in the clubhouse was a three-over-par 75 achieved by both Scotland’s Eilidh Briggs and Sweden’s Johanna Tillstrom.
Johanna, from Stockholm, is one of six members of the European team for next week’s Junior Solheim Cup match in the States, who decided they would play in the back-to-back big events, here at West Lancashire GC and at Aurora Country Club in Illinois, next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Johanna reached the turn in level par 36 but took 39 for the inward journey.
Scotland girl international Eilidh is a member at Kilmacolm Golf Club like her 16-year-old younger sister of Megan Briggs, winner of this year’s Scottish women’s amateur championship at Southerness.
Eilidh did well to salvage a 75, considering she had double bogeys at the short third and the par-4 seventh and reached the turn in 39..
“I just made a mess of the third,” said Eilidh, “and I three-putted the seventh from a long way away.”
Her birdies came at the fourth (380yd) – drive, wedge, 5ft putt – and the 14th (365yd) (five wood off the tee, seven iron, 6ft putt).
English girls champion Holly Clyburn (Woodhall Spa) had the misfortune to run up a triple bogey 8 at the long 16th. Despite that she covered the last nine holes in one-over-par 37, with birdies at the 10th and 12th.
No birdies on the way out for Holly, only bogeys at the first, fifth, sixth and eighth.
+Stand by for several one-stroke penalties being imposed for slow play over the second qualifying round, writes Colin Farquharson.
Several players, including leader Noemi Jimenez, were warned that they took too long over their shots today and if that is repeated they will have one stroke added to their scores - which could mean the difference between qualifying and not qualifying.
The Ladies Golf Union began their pace of play checks last season. Now they are ready to take it a stage further. Head of Golf Operations Susan Simpson says the time has come for action to stamp out slow play - and the LGU are prepared to lead the way.
146 France.
150 Sweden.
151 England, Austria.
152 Switzerland.
154 Spain.
156 South Africa.
157 Scotland.
159 Ireland.
160 Italy, Wales.