This year, in the middle of May, in a relatively sleepy corner of Hampshire, female golfers from all over the county converged to play in the first full HLG’s County Championship since 2019. Coronavirus stopped us in our tracks in 2020 but nothing could stop us in 2021, despite Mother Nature trying her very best at derailing the train.
At the start of the week the weather was almost steamy but definitely squally for the Salver and Challenge Bowl qualifying rounds. The rain on Monday afternoon was so bad that the referees had to display their best mopping techniques on a couple of the greens. On Wednesday the temperature dropped and the wind started to pick up for the 36 hole Championship qualifying rounds. Also played that day was the first round Knock Out round of the Salver Trophy and Challenge Bowl, with players representing ten different clubs from across the County, battling their way through to the last eight. The joint winners of the Coronation Medal (best nett score) during the qualifying round in the Championship week, with a 71, were Jane Palmgren and Rachel Hanbury, both from Stoneham.
On Thursday the zephyr of the day before was quickly becoming a gale, which was packing a punch for the last sixteen of the Championship and last eight of the Salver and Challenge Bowl. In the Championship Kerry Smith (Waterlooville GC) won the match against local player and Hampshire Junior Performance Squad member, Stevie Crozier-Hunt. Hannah Hellyer (Hayling Island GC), also a Hampshire Junior Performance Squad member won against Diane Oram (Basingstoke GC). Amelia Williams (Barton-on-Sea GC) won against Sue Lewis (Bramshott Hill GC) and Aimee Paterson (North Hants GC) won against Kim Mundy (Brokenhurst GC). In the Semi Final of the Salver, Katie Hewson (Stoneham GC) won the match against Elise Witt (Royal Winchester GC) and another of our Juniors, Rosie Rooney (Alresford GC) won against Pauline Davies (Royal Winchester GC). In the Challenge Bowl, Karen Fox (Alresford GC) won against fellow compatriot Liz Williams and Allena Doley (Meon Valley GC) won against local Corhampton GC member Jackie Kershaw.
On Friday Finals Day the storm was horrific with 45 mph wind and some intense rain just to add to the drama! First off was the Salver Final between Katie Hewson (Stoneham GC) and Rosie Rooney (Alresford GC). How they managed to stand up let alone play golf is still a major mystery, but they did with Katie Hewson winning the trophy. In the Challenge Bowl Karen Fox (Alresford GC) and Allena Doley (Meon Valley GC) battled the wind with Karen Fox taking the trophy.
The Championship Semi Final between Kerry Smith and Hannah Hellyer was a thrilling and well played match, which ended on the 18th in a victory for Hannah. In the other semi final Amelia Williams won against Aimee Paterson, setting up an interesting afternoon final. Both finalists have experience of playing in strong winds being members at Hayling Island and Barton-On-Sea, and boy did they ever need this experience at Corhampton on Friday afternoon. The crowd that followed this match were impressed by both players ability to play so well in such difficult conditions. It was a thoroughly entertaining final with some brilliant shot making and despite the gruelling conditions played in great spirit. It ended with Hannah Hellyer winning on the 15th, and she becomes the 2021 County Champion and winner of the Championship Bowl. Hannah is one of the youngest Champions at age 15 following in the footsteps of Aimee Ponte and Emma Allen. Well done Hannah, a fantastic week of golf and a great achievement!
In her presentation speech County Captain, Jill England, thanked Corhampton GC for stepping in as host venue at such short notice. The support, organisation and warm welcome was very much appreciated and despite the torrential downpours, both players and officials had commented very positively about the condition of the course which held up magnificently and provided a real test for all the players.
Congratulations to all players who participated and especially to the winners .
Championship (Handicap Indexes + to 9.9) 36 hole medal qualifier Wednesday 19th May
Salver (Handicap Indexes 10.0 to 14.9) 18 hole medal qualifier Monday morning 17th May
Challenge Bowl (Handicap Indexes 15.0 to 20.0) 18 hole medal qualifier Monday afternoon 17th May
DIV 2 Championship (Handicap Indexes 20.1 to 36.0) 18 hole Stableford Tuesday morning 18th May