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Simon Byford’s golf column: Bury St Edmunds’ PGA professional Sarah Attwood and Alice Barlow bid for British Women’s Open spots





Bury St Edmunds GC member Alice Barlow gained entry directly into final qualifying due to her World Amateur Golf Ranking (currently 421), however Bury’s PGA Professional Sarah Attwood headed to regional qualifying to begin her journey. The venue was The Buckinghamshire and 18 holes of strokeplay where only the top 18 places from over 100 competitors would make final qualifying. Battling a shoulder injury plus getting used to new clubs were just two of the added challenges Sarah faced.

It was however to be a great day for Attwood, with dad on the bag to provide support. Highlights must include driving the 250 yard par 4 8th, setting up a 2 putt birdie which she followed up with another birdie on the 9th. A par save on 14 kept the round in check but the real turning point came on the 17th.

Sarah Attwood will be hoping for a dream spot in The Women’s British Open; top right, the ladies’ past captains at Thetford and, above, Rushmere’s Hambro Cup team
Sarah Attwood will be hoping for a dream spot in The Women’s British Open; top right, the ladies’ past captains at Thetford and, above, Rushmere’s Hambro Cup team

Sitting at 1 under par, but not being on the par 4 green in 2 shots Sarah was faced with a 40 yard pitch. What could easily have led to a bogey, finish the round level par and have to go into the subsequent playoff for a spot, she took her 58deg wedge and holed the shot for birdie, then parred the 18th for a 2 under par 70 total, a tied 5th position and a comfortable qualification.

Final qualifying will take place at Hankley Common on August 7, with potentially only 3 places available for The Open itself. Just getting to final qualifying is a fantastic achievement and I wish Alice and Sarah the best of luck.

Hambro Cup

It was the semi finals of the Hambro Cup, with two sides from West Suffolk in action in opposing semis, there was a chance for both Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket to battle out an all West final. Unfortunately Bury St Edmunds came up second against Diss in their semi final. Despite being three holes up at lunch, Diss fought back strongly to win by 10 holes in the end.

Stowmarket fared much better, and have sent the following report by the team captain.

The morning round was very close, with Stowmarket up by only one hole at lunch, highlighted by Mark Jones and Graham Tobin coming in 5 up despite giving 6 shots to their opponents. Kenton Jameson and Kevin Button were their usual strong selves, coming in 2 up against Rushmere’s top pair.

Henry Cutting and John Allen were up against it from the off against the wily Alan Middle and his young partner, who did get quite a few fortunate breaks, and came in 5 down, which really wasn’t a true reflection on how they played. Ben Forgan and Dan Voysey finished 1 down but showed their doggedness by pulling back 3 holes only to lose it on the 18th.

A switch of playing order and bringing in Colin Leathers for the afternoon round paid dividends, with him and John Allen receiving 5 shots and seeing them come in 4 up.

Another great win by 3 holes for Kenton and Kevin over Alan Middle and partner, who were Rushmere’s top scorers in the morning, put a big smile on Kenton’s face! Mark Jones and Graham Tobin finished 2 down to a strong pairing, while Ben Forgan and Dan Voysey brought in a 1 hole win, with some exceptional chipping and putting, especially Ben who certainly kept himself hydrated on the way round!

The final result was a 7 hole win on the day. A fantastic performance by all the players, and yet again the team spirit and camaraderie came through well into the late evening!

Thetford GC

It was excellent that many past Ladies Past Captains of Thetford GC travelled from Wales, Nottingham, Sussex and Lincolnshire in order to attend Past Captains Day at Thetford Golf Club. 14 past captains played in the stableford competition earlier in the day and 20 in total enjoyed the excellent 3 course dinner in the evening, provided by the club’s catering team headed up by Tony Walton.

The Past Captains trophy was won by Pauline O’Sullivan, Ladies Captain in 1987, with an amazing 40 points having scored 5 points for a birdie on 8th and 4 points on both 3rd and 11th for par. Joy Potter (now at Sutton Bridge) was close behind in 2nd place on 39 points. It was a very convivial day and enjoyed by all.

Enjoy the Open Championship this weekend, in particular Hoylake Golf Club which is sublime, and have a great golfing week.