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.
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.