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Upsets as senior matchplay starts

THE defending champion and the top seed were toppled in the first matchplay round of the English Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Enville Golf Club, Staffordshire yesterday.

But the big names to make it safely through include Staffordshire’s senior internationals Julie Brown (Trentham) – a past champion – and Sue Spencer (Whittington Heath).

Both won on the 17th, with Brown (pictured) knocking out Sharon Eales (Royal Birkdale) and Spencer defeating former stroke play champion Lulu Housman (Wyke Green).

Cheshire’s Caroline Berry – another past winner of this event – got into her stride on the back nine, producing a couple of birdies as she worked to a 5/3 win.  Hertfordshire’s Jackie Foster, who has twice won the senior stroke play, was another fast worker, defeating her opponent on the 13th.

Elsewhere, the games were much tighter. Last year’s winner, Aileen Greenfield of Sussex, staged a terrific effort in her title defence. She halved the 17th in birdie and won the 18th with another birdie to get back to all square against Yorkshire’s Karen Jobling – but bowed out on the 19th.

Top seed Helen Lowe – the 2015 champion from Leicestershire – lost another close match, going out to Somerset’s Amanda Mayne on the 18th. They reached the 18th all square but Lowe was wrong footed when her tee shot found a fairway bunker.

“There was never more than one hole in and neither of us deserved to  lose,” said Mayne.

Cheshire’s Gillian Mellor ignited the championship on the first qualifying day with her superb score of one-under par. But her challenge ended today when she lost to Lancashire’s Susan Caton.

Also out is Cheshire’s Cath Rawthore, who won in 2016 and was last year’s runner-up – but was stopped this year by Derbyshire’s Lindsey Shaw. Meanwhile English senior team captain Debbie Richards knocked out another past champion, Janet Melville (Royal Birkdale).

In the over 60s Ann Howard Trophy there were fewer upsets. Top seed Jayne Fletcher – another Staffordshire player, from Whittington Heath – held on to win on the 18th, while defending champion Carol Wild from Nottinghamshire won 7/6.