IRELAND made a flying start to their bid for a first Women’s Home International title for six years when they demolished England in the sunshine over the Whitchurch course in Cardiff yesterday.
Having won the foursomes 2-1, the Irish produced a scintillating singles performance to win all six matches for an overall 8-1 victory- an amazing achievement.
With the foursomes poised at one match apiece there came a pivotal moment. Ireland looked like lunching 2-1 down when in the third match Gillian O’Leary and Sinead O’Sullivan were two down with four to play to Nikki Foster and Charlie Douglass. But then the Irish pair won three holes on the bounce to go in front and held on at the last for a point.
Playing at the top of the singles order County Down’s Danielle McVeigh, the 2009 British strokeplay champion, went ahead at the third against English champion Hayley Davis, and never looked back after that being five under par in winning 3&2.
The 15-year-old Maguire twins were both in superb form, being six under par in sweeping to foursomes success and then individually delivering the goods.
Leona, the French U20 champion, was three up at the turn against Charlotte Ellis, then took the next three holes and after losing the 13th to a birdie wrapped up the match 5&4. Lisa, two up after 11, won 4&3 against Charley Hull.
It was a good day for Cork’s O’Leary, who followed up the foursomes triumph by overwhelming Tara Watters 6&4 while in the tightest match debut making Malone golfer Louise Coffey edged out British champion Kelly Tidy by 3&1.
Meanwhile, Helen Jones (Strabane) leads the field by three strokes at the Irish Senior Women’s Open Strokeplay at Laytown and Bettystown.
In gusty winds and sporadic downpours, Jones, fresh from duty at the Europeans Senior in Germany last week, birdied her three opening holes and continued steadily to turn two under. Turning into the wind, she bogeyed four holes on the inward half but a fine birdie on the 14th saw her safely home in a best of the day 74.
Next best was Ballinasloe’s Mary Madden, who shared second place with Canada’s Lynda Palahniuk and Wales’ Vicki Thomas. Home favourite Phil O’Gorman was next best on 78 while Ireland’s Pauline Walsh (Headfort), Marilyn Henderson (Castlerock), Violet McBride (Belvoir Park), Pat Doran (Donabate) and Sheena McElroy (Grange) are all within striking distance a couple of shots behind.
Defending champion Alison Murdoch (Canada) had a double and triple bogey on her outward nine but steadied the ship to return an 84 and a strong performance today could still see her challenge for the title.
The field will play a further 18 holes strokeplay today with the top 40 qualifying for the final 18 holes tomorrow.
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