A day of exciting golf at Bury St Edmunds followed what, in retrospect, was a rather low key day of stroke play. Although several of the first round matches were too close to call, five of them were more or less in line with expectation.
Lily Kent beat Emily Penfold by three and one which was a good result for Emily who plays off eleven and was therefore giving away eight shots. Vanessa Bell (scratch) predictably had too much fire power for Eloise Aldous whose handicap is seven. Eloise lost by 4/3. 4/3 was also the margin of victory for Vicki Inglis against Alice Barlow and for Blaize Esmond versus Wendy Wilderspin (13).
Harder to call were the other four matches. In the event, Wendy Airey, Sarah Howe, Sharon Luckman and Lils James moved on to the quarter finals and all the players had to go up a gear.
First out after lunch were Lily Kent and Wendy Airey. Lily had things mostly her own way as she generally found the middle of the fairways and Wendy tacked about a bit. Lily reached five up at seven and, despite an Airey revival, was four up after thirteen. The 163-yard fifteenth nearly upset the apple cart though. She put her tee shot into a greenside bunker and must have heaved a quiet sigh of relief as Wendy-s ball found an impossible spot right in front of a fat tree trunk. Lily splashed out but not far enough only to see Wendy produce a miracle shot, from which she made an unbelievable three. Wendy struggled to keep her ball in play but still managed to reach the eighteenth tee only one down, largely thanks to Lily’s out of bounds third at sixteen. A huge rainstorm passed over before Wendy’s eighteenth tee shot tangled disastrously with tree roots on the right. Missing the ball, she conceded hole and match to Lily whose ball rested comfortably mid-fairway.
Vanessa made a fast start against Sarah Howe. Four up after five, she then lost five and six. This was a pleasant match to watch. Sarah plays with commendable speed and no change of facial expression, whatever she may be feeling within. But Vanessa countered all Sarah’s initiatives and hit a particularly impressive approach shot from around 100 yards at the twelfth which finished eighteen inches from the pin. That shot took her to three up and she eventually won by 3/2.
Sharon Luckman and Vicki Inglis, both mighty hitters, kept things tight. Sharon was two up after eight, but s