Bad day for Young, a good one for youth

Lyndsey Hewison Top seed Tracey Williamson ended the reign of three-times titleholder Karen Young and swept into the semi-final of the Norfolk ladies' championship at Royal Cromer yesterday.

Lyndsey Hewison

Top seed Tracey Williamson ended the reign of three-times titleholder Karen Young and swept into the semi-final of the Norfolk ladies' championship at Royal Cromer yesterday.

Meanwhile, the young brigade staged a take-over of the other semi-final spots. Williamson will play 19-year-old Edwina Lowrey-Gold of Eaton who survived a marathon second round match. In the other semi-final 15-year-old Rebecca Heeles of Royal Norwich will meet 20-year-old Amy Skoulding of King's Lynn.

Williamson, who is playing on her home course, has won this title seven times - but never at Royal Cromer. “It's a real spur to be playing at home,” she said after playing her way to two convincing wins.

In the first round she beat Cassie Pickerill of Thetford 7/5 and then defeated Young, the defending champion, 7/6.

“I played well but Karen wasn't her usual self,” said Williamson as she described a quarter-final win in which she didn't lose a hole.

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Conditions were extremely difficult for the players with rain and strong, gusting winds. Williamson set herself the target of scoring pars - and largely managed it.

“Local knowledge does help because I'm used to the wind. If you play here all the time you just get on with it.”

Rebecca Heeles was on good form coming into this championship, having recently beaten the Midland girls' champion in a junior county match. In yesterday's first round she defeated fellow Royal Norwich member Nicky Wylie and then claimed the notable scalp of former champion Jo Ashmore (Barnham Broom).

“I'm shocked - and pleased that I did it,” said the Norfolk girls' champion. “The best thing is that I get another day off school! I never expected to get through to the final day and I'm just enjoying myself now.”

Heeles and Ashmore had a ding-dong front nine but the teenager pulled ahead with pars on the short 13th and the 15th to get to three up. She booked her semi-final place when the players halved the 16th.

Amy Skoulding was last year's runner-up and she described herself as “ecstatic” to reach the semi-final after edging through a testing game against Royal Norwich's Sammy Martin.

“It was very tough, we had a really good tussle,” she said. “We halved the first few holes then I went up and Sammy got it back; then Sammy went up and I got it back.”

Skoulding appeared to be in the driving seat when she got to three up with three to play, but Martin fought back again, winning the 16th and 17th. “My heart was going a bit,” said Skoulding, but a textbook par on the last sealed the match.

Edwina Lowrey-Gold was tested by championship newcomer, Shelly Pleasance of Dunston Hall, who took her to the 20th.

The Eaton player was two up with three to play but lost a ball on the 16th and was pulled back to all square when her opponent birdied 17.

The players halved 18 and set off into extra time in the heaviest of downpours.

The 19th was halved before Lowrey-Gold held her nerve to win the second extra hole.

“I was confident and playing well and it was a really good match - a really good day's golf for me,” said Lowrey-Gold. “I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Talking point of the day was the unfortunate rabbit which was hit and killed in the bunker on the 17th by the ball of Royal Cromer's Sarah Steventon.

She was able to play her second shot without interference - but the possible rules implications were debated at length in the clubhouse!

t Results

Round one: Tracey Williamson (Royal Cromer) beat Cassie Pickerill (Thetford) 7/5. Karen Young (Eaton) beat Sharon Black (Dunston Hall) 4/2. Edwina Lowrey-Gold (Eaton) beat Jennifer Hide (Royal Norwich) 6/5.