Another talented young golfer gets her hands on prized Norfolk trophy
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
For the second year running youth triumphed over experience as another of Norfolk's rising young stars got her hands on the Norfolk Ladies' Championship trophy.
Sixteen-year-old Ellie Brown followed in the footsteps of Amy Taylor, two years her junior, as she saw off the determined challenge of seven-time champion Tracey Williamson in a fascinating final at Thetford yesterday.
The Barnham Broom youngster made a flying start to go four up after just six holes and then showed her mental toughness to get over the line following a couple of missed putts from short range that had let her opponent back into the match.
The final eventually reached its conclusion at the 15th green, with Brown a deserved 4&3 winner. But Williamson also had her moments – with an eagle three at the 372-yard par five seventh being the undoubted highlight – and was unlucky to come up against an opponent who played some truly inspired golf on the front nine when she won all five of her holes with birdies.
The Easton and Otley College student, who also led the qualifiers on Friday, was runner-up to Jo Herd in 2014 and was delighted to get the job done this time around.
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'Winning this means so much to me – I am very proud to be the champion,' she said.
'To have won the Scratch Cup and then gone on to win the matchplay competition as well is very pleasing. I am getting more time to work on my game now I am at college and I definitely think I am a better player now than I was a couple of years ago.
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'I am so happy – and I would like to thank my coach Tony Varney and my grandad (caddie Mike Asker) for the part they have played in helping me win.'
Brown showed she meant business right from the start in the final against a vastly experienced player who was bidding for what would have been an eighth title, after winning it for the first time way back in 1989. A tee shot to the heart of the 150-yard first was followed by a birdie putt from around 10ft – and the feat was repeated at the 146-yard third, only this time from almost twice the distance.
The par four second was halved in six after errors from both players, but the standard was generally extremely high on the front nine, with further birdies at four and six putting the youngster in total command. It wasn't until the seventh that Royal Cromer's Williamson finally won her first hole – and how – with an accurate drive, a superb iron to seven feet and a cool putt, but Brown immediately produced her fifth birdie in eight holes to go four up again.
The Barnham Broom teenager then showed she was human after all by twice missing short putts to allow Williamson to claw her way back to two down after 10 – but any realistic hope of a comeback then disappeared at the 164-yard next hole.
With the momentum now with her, the county captain missed the green by some distance to the right and then mishit her next shot into the greenside bunker before failing to get out of it. A concession soon followed after a rare scrappy hole and all of a sudden Brown had some breathing space. She went four up at the next and then all but sealed victory with a memorable par four at the 14th, when, after a poor drive, she chipped out before finding the green with a brilliant low five iron and then holed out from 20 feet. Another half at the next and the title was hers.
The three-day competition was sponsored by Anglia Kitchens and Bedrooms.