Friday, April 23, 2010


Louise Kenney (left) and Nikki Foster (right). Images taken by Cal Carson Golf Agency at Troon today.

Nikki Foster and Louise Kenney share first-round

lead on eight-under-par 67

Dunfermline teacher Louise Kenney and Lancashire lass Nikki Foster surged two shots clear of the field to share the overnight lead on eight-under-par 67 after the first round of the Helen Holm Scottish women’s open amateur stroke-play golf championship at Troon Portland links, Ayrshire today (Friday).
On an overcast day with a chilly wind blowing off and on, 27-year-old Louise and 18-year-old Nikki generated the most heat with their eagle-birdie blitz of the course which has a generous par of 75 off the LGU tees.
“That was just the start I was praying for,” said Kenney who is a member of the short leet for the GB&I Curtis Cup team to play the United States at Essex County Club, Massachusetts in June.
“I don’t know where that round came from! I wasn’t that brilliant in my practice rounds but it all fell into place today, just when I needed it. I was so steady. Eight under par is my best ever score, anywhere, anytime.
“I felt so relaxed after I pitched and putted for a birdie 4 after going through the back at the first hole. I was just hitting my approach shots so close. I only had one bogey – three putts at the fifth – but that was the exception.”
Kenney birdied the long first, the third, the short fourth, the long sixth and the long ninth to turn in four-under-par 34. The Fifer from the Pitreavie club, who spent four years on the American college golf circuit as a student at Iowa State University, carried on shooting the lights out after the turn. She got a 2 at the short 10th and a 4 at the long 11th, and birdies at two more long holes, the 15th and 18th.”
Nikki Foster, on the other hand, is not in the preliminary Curtis Cup squad named by the LGU selection committee as a guide several months ago …. “but winning this tournament might change things,” said the 18-year-old full-time amateur with a smile.
The last time she was in Scotland was as a member of the England team in the women’s home internationals at Irvine last September.
“I’ve never played in the Helen Holm before so obviously my only experience of Troon Portland was in practice but I love the links courses in Lancashire and now I have to say in Ayrshire.”
Nikki, whose father-caddie Trevor played 108 times for Lancashire, is that county’s girls champion.
“I struck the ball well and I putted really well and that was it. I hit 14 greens in regulation and I think I have benefited tremendously from playing golf through the winter in Florida at a holiday home.”
Foster’s birdies came at the long second, the thired, the long sixth, the seventh, the short eighth and the long ninth in reaching the turn in six-under-par 32. She got to nine under the card with a birdie at the long 11th and an eagle 3 at the long 12th before she dropped her only shot of the round by being over the back of the green with her tee shot to the short 14th. But she retrieved that stroke by birdeing the long 18th.
Kenney and Foster will start the second round, also over Troon Portland, with a two-shot lead over the 15-year-old defending champion, Leona Maguire from the Slieve Russell club in Ireland.
Slightly bigger and stronger than she was 12 months ago, Leona had an eagle 3 at the ninth where she chipped in from 20 yards and birdies at the first, fifth, sixth, 11th and 18th. S~he took had one bogey, a three-putt at the 16th.
“No, I don’t feel under pressure as defending champion. I leave that to the older girls and I am not thinking about the Curtis Cup. I am focused on winning this title two years in a row and that’s enough for me to think about,” said the slightly shy Leona, one half of the wonder twins who are certainties to be chosen on Sunday night for the Curtis Cup team.
Sister Lisa, who finished third last year, is lying joint 12th on 74th.
After Louise Kenney, the next best Scot is another Curtis Cup candidate, Kelsey MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar) whose 73 included a four-putt double bogey 5 at the 16th.
“You can’t win it on the opening day so I’m happy enough,” said the Stirling University student who was runner-up to Leona Maguire last year.
The field has come tumbling down from 99 entries to only 68 - due mainly to Continental players being unable to get flights in time to reach Ayrshire for Wednesdsay/Thursday's practice rounds - by the time play started this morning.
Because of that, the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association organisers have decided to scrap the normal cut after 36 holes to the leading 66 and ties.
Troon Portland
Par 75
67 Nikki Foster (Pleasington), Louise Kenney (Pitreavie).
69 Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell).
70 Danielle McVeigh (Royal Co Down Ladies), Lucy Williams (Mid Herts).
71 Emma Brown (Malton & Norton).
72 Gillian O'Leary (Cork), Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton), Hannah Barwood (Knowle), Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale).
73 Naomi Edwards (Ganton), Kelsey MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar).
74 Charlotte Wild (Mere), Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russell), Charlotte Dalton (Ladbrook Park), Jane Turner (Craigielaw).
75 Rachael Watton (Mortonhall), Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm), Lisa Ball (Matfen Hall), Kelly Brotherton (Troon Welbeck), Pamela Pretswell (Bothwell Castle), Lauren Taylor (Woburn), Sian James (Bristol & Clifton), Laura Murray (Alford).
76 Victoria Bradshaw (Bangor), Gemma Bradbury (Cottrell Park), Laura Collin (John O'Gaunt), Anjelika Hammar (Sweden), Gabrielle MacDonald (Craigielaw), Stephanie McEvoy (Old Fold Manor), Rachael McQueen (Troon Ladies), Charlotte Ellis (Minchinhampton).
77 Tara Davies (Holyhead), Amy Boulden (Maesdu), Aedin Murphy (Carlow), Sara Garbutt (Ganton), Jess Wilcox (Blankney), Susan Jackson (Ladybank), Maura Diamond (Royal Portrush), Emma Sheffield (Newark), Rebecca Wilson (Grange).
78 Becky Harries (Haverfordwest), Gillian Monteith (Portpatrick Dunskey), Megan Briggs (Kilmacolm), Alyson McKechin (Elderslie), Charlie Douglass (Brocket Hall).
79 Louise Mernagh (Woodenbridge), Samantha Birks (Wolstanton), Holly Clyburn (Woodhall Spa), Rachel Hanlon (St Regulus), Rachael Taylor (Hartl Golf Resort, Germany), Bethany Garton (Royal Lytham), Josephine Jansson (Sweden).
80 Ann B Ramsay (Kirriemuir), Hannah Grant (Enmore Park), Lucy Simpson (Masserene).
81 Bronwyn Davies (Trentham), Claire-Marie Carlton (Fereneze), Rebecca Gee (Wellingborough), Sarah Cunningham (Ennis), Karen O'Neill (Douglas), Charlene Reid (Royal Portrush).
82 Anne Laing (Vale of Leven), Sarah Helly (Enniscrone), Lesley Atkins (Minto).
83 Ailsa Summers (Carnoustie Ladies).
84 Ciara Butler (Newlands).
86 Samantha Leslie (Westhill).
139 IRELAND (Leona Maguire 69, D McVeigh 70).
142 SCOTLAND (L Kenney 67, P Pretswell 75).
153 ENGLAND (H Barwood 74, H Clyburn 79).
154 WALES (A Boulden 77, T Davies 77).