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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Gloucestershire pair Sue and Rachael

win PING tournament Grand Final

Gloucestershire golfers Sue Elliott and Rachael Thomas breezed round the Thonock Park course at Gainsborough in one-over par 73 to win the Grand Final of the 2009 PING four-ball better-ball tournament of England.
The pair, from Henbury Golf Club, amassed 43 Stableford points in strong winds and finished two clear of the field.
“We are ecstatic,” said Rachael.
Sue added: “It’s brilliant, absolutely excellent – this is a great event for ladies’ golf and so well organised.”
They win a choice of PING clubs or PING Collection clothing to the value of £400. They also qualify for the UK final of the Volvo Masters Amateur Tour at Kingsbarns Links in Fife in October.
Runners-up were Cheryl Power and Priya Bhatia of Kent, who came in late in the day and pipped, on countback, the long-time leaders Fiona Hockin and Jayne O’Sullivan of Yorkshire. The PING Tournament – which is run by the English Women’s Golf Association – had a new format this year and attracted over 16,000 competitors.
The best 60 club winners qualified for today’s Grand Final, while the next 72 pairs went through to the new Plate Final, which took place yesterday. Sue and Rachael won their club round – their first outing in a four-ball event – with 43 points.
They returned the same score in the Grand Final when they tamed the extremely windy conditions with solid golf. Between them, they parred 15 holes, bogeyed two and birdied the long 17th.
“We work well as a team – we’ve known each other for about 20 years and we are best mates,” said Sue, who was a professional on the Ladies European Tour for two decades. Injury brought her career to an end and last year she regained her amateur status and a four handicap. Rachael, who sometimes caddied for her friend, is a 10-handicapper who is determined to get down to single figures - and is taught by Sue’s partner, Henbury teaching professional Ryan Crowley.
The final was contested by pairs from all over the country and of all ages - the youngest partnership was 14-year-old Emily Powell and Amy Ridley, 18, of Seascale, Cumbria. One competitor, Mandy Roberts of Overstone Park, Northamptonshire, was so keen to take part that she played on her own after her partner was forced to drop out – and returned a very creditable score.
All Grand Finalists received a PING golf bag, a PING Collection windshirt and a pair of ECCO shoes. They also had the opportunity to tour the PING factory, to try clubs in the PING fitting centre and to enter other competitions.
Overall winner Sue Elliott was also successful in the putting competition and won a putter, while Jane Leigh from Humberstone Heights, Leicestershire, won the nearest the pin challenge and received a PING driver.
Leading scores
43 pts Sue Elliott & Rachael Thomas (Henbury).
41 Cheryl Power & Priya Bhatia (Langley Park), Fiona Hockin & Jayne O’Sullivan (Horsforth).
40 Carol Firth & Sally Dixon (Bingley St Ives), Linda Woods & Sharon Baxter (Royal Epping Forest), Helen Lowe & Debs Massey (Scraptoft).
39 Michele Moran & Pat Waldron (Hickleton).
38 Alison Baldwick & Amanda Leach (East Berkshire), Jane Leigh & Wendy Castle (Humberstone Heights), Shelagh Warren & Sue Hitchman (Stoke Rochford), Lesley Pascoe & Hilary Richards (Stover), Claire Fensome & Alisa Moore (Collingtree Park), Adele Haddon & Diane Burridge (College Pines).
Lyndsey Hewison
Press & PR Officer

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