Opens: Ladies London Foursomes

THE CHAMPIONS: Niamh O’Connor (left) and Gemma Bradbury of Denham GC

O’Connor and Bradbury end Denham’s 53-year wait at The Berkshire

OPENS: Sunday, March 27th

FORMAT: 6 rounds of knockout foursomes

Niamh O’Connor and Gemma Bradbury were the toast of Denham GC tonight as the Buckinghamshire club won the Ladies’ London Foursomes for the first time since 1969.

The best friends had never played together in the illustrious scratch competition but combined superbly to see off the formidable Wentworth duo of Ava Bates and Millie Cottrell 2&1 in this afternoon’s final at The Berkshire.

Sixty-four clubs were represented – they must be located a maximum of 55 miles from the centre of London to enter a team – and the victorious duo were elated to bring the cup back to Denham for the first time in more than 50 years.

It was also the 100th anniversary of the competition’s first playing and previous winners included Joyce Wethered, Laura Davies, Annabel Dimmock and Inci Mehmet.

“In terms of where this victory ranks this is right up there for me,” said former Surrey county player Niamh, who plays off one.

“To get through six rounds, against the quality of opposition we faced, was pretty special.”

“It is definitely in my top three victories,” added Gemma, who has previously represented Glamorgan, Fife and Wales.

FINALISTS (from the left): Niamh O’Connor, Gemma Bradbury, Ava Bates and Millie Cottrell

The 30-year-olds won the first hole against the juniors from Surrey but were then never ahead until the 15th where scratch player Gemma pulled off “the shot of the tournament”. Having halved the previous four holes in a row, both pairs missed the green with their second shot and the Denham player was facing a downhill bunker shot to a pin sloping away from her. Despite the high tariff she splashed out six feet and Niamh holed the putt while their opponents couldn’t get up and down.

At the very next – the par five 16th – they doubled their advantage as both pairs were facing a four-foot putt for birdie, which Gemma converted but the Wentworth team could not follow them in.

The Denham duo then turned the screw at 17 as Gemma found the fairway and Niamh drilled a nine iron to 20 feet. With Ava and Millie not able to find the putting surface in regulation a par would be enough for the leaders and Gemma putted up two feet and Niamh tapped in for the title.

In the morning semi-finals, Denham were three up with four to play against Sandy Lodge but lost 15 to a par and then watched helplessly as their opponents birdied 16 and 17 to draw level.

However at 18 Gemma hit a superb aproach shot while the Sandy Lodge duo had to chip on in three and then missed with their par putt to open the door. The Denham ladies duly two putted to win the match by one hole.

Yesterday, in their last eight tie with North Hants, they were three down thru four but hit back with a flurry of birdies and eventually ran out 3&1 victors.

The competition was also the final one for half the organising committee. Pat Price, Carol Jamieson and Rosemary Wallis are all stepping down after 10 years service.

Scores – First Round
– Roehampton lost to Denham 4&3
– Reading beat The Wisley 4&2
– Royal Wimbledon lost to Camberley Heath 7&5
– Sonning lost to Clandon Regis 3&2
– Ashridge lost to North Hants 7&5
– Newbury & Crookham lost to Burhill 3&2
– Harpenden beat Hendon 3&1
– Hankley Common lost to Castle Royle 4&3
– East Berkshire lost to Harewood Downs 3&1
– Crowborough Beacon lost to West Essex 4&2
– Army lost to Worplesdon 3&1
– Sand Martins lost to Gerrards Cross 19th
– Maidenhead beat South Herts 6&4
– Sandy Lodge beat Dulwich & Sydenham Hill 7&6
– Mid Herts lost to Sundridge Park 5&3
– Muswell Hill lost to Nizels 5&4
– The Berkshire lost to Mill Ride 5&4
– Basingstoke lost to Worthing 3&2
– Beaconsfield beat Brookmans Park 5&4
– Knebworth lost to Wentworth 7&6
– Royal Ashdown Forest beat Moor Park 2 holes
– Nevill beat Aldwickbury Park 7&6
– Benton Hall beat Ellesborough 6&5
– Blackmoor lost to Banstead Downs 6&5
– West Hill beat Pedham Place 6&5
– East Herts lost to Canterbury 2&1
– Tandridge lost to Frilford Heath 5&4
– Sunningdale beat Hindhead 2&1
– Foxhills lost to Royal Mid-Surrey 1 hole
– Walton Heath lost to Burnham Beeches 19th hole
– Cuddington lost to St George’s Hill 5&4
– Henley lost to West Sussex 3&1
Second round
– Denham beat Reading 6&4
– Camberley Heath lost to Clandon Regis 19th hole
– North Hants beat Burhill 3&2
– Harpenden lost to Castle Royle 5&4
– Harewood Downs beat West Essex 2&1
– Worplesdon beat Gerrard’s Cross 8&6
– Maidenhead lost to Sandy Lodge 6&4
– Sunridge Park lost to Nizels 1 hole
– Mill Ride lost to Worthing 19th hole
– Beaconsfield lost to Wentworth 4&2
– Royal Ashdown Forest lost to Nevill 3&2
– Benton Hall beat Banstead Downs 1 hole
– West Hill beat Canterbury 4&3
– Frilford Heath lost to Sunningdale 8&6
– Royal Mid-Surrey beat Burnham Beeches3&2
– West Sussex beat St George’s Hill 5&3

Third round
– Denham beat Clandon Regis 5&4
– North Hants beat Castle Royal 2&1
– Harewood Downs lost to Worplesdon 3&1
– Sandy Lodge beat Nizels 4&3
– Worthing lost to Wentworth 6&5
– Nevill beat Benton Hall 5&3
– West Hill beat Sunningdale 2&1
– Royal Mid-Surrey lost to West Sussex 2&1
Quarter-finals
– Denham beat North Hants 3&1
– Worplesdon lost to Sandy Lodge 5&4
– Wentworth beat Nevill 3&2
– West Hill beat West Sussex 2&1
Semi-finals
– Denham beat Sandy Lodge 1 hole
– Wentworth beat West Hill 4&3

Final
– Denham beat Wentworth 2&1