East of England: Ladies Strokeplay

BACK IN THE GROOVE: East Region strokeplay champion Alice Barlow

Alice back on top after back injury-plagued season

EAST OF ENG: Friday Sept 17th

FORMAT: 36-hole strokeplay

Suffolk champion Alice Barlow has endured an injury-hit summer but things really clicked back into place at Gorleston on Wednesday where she won the East Region Ladies Strokeplay Championship by four shots.

The Bury St Edmunds player began struggling with back pain in June and played through until the end of July with the aid of painkillers. Finally she took the plunge and sort medical help, discovering a stiff facet joint in her spine was the cause of the discomfort.

It meant she missed all of August while the problem was treated, finally making her competition return at the women’s champion of champions earlier this month where she finished ten shots behind winner Hannah Morrison (Chapel-en-le-Frith).

However at the Suffolk venue rounds of 72 and 73 meant she retained the title with a one under total with Norfolk’s Nellie Ong (Eaton) having to settle for second having led at halfway. 

CHAMPION: Alice Barlow with the East Region Strokeplay trophy

“Since the champion of champions I’ve been working hard to get my timing back,” said the 22-year-old, who has won her county championship five times in a row.

“While I was playing with the injury I was having to manipulate my hands because my body couldn’t get through the shot but the swing is thankfully back to normal now.”

It was certainly working well as she overcame a lost ball at the third to post an opening 72, the highlight being a brilliant approach shot to the ninth where she only had two feet for a birdie.

At lunch she was two behind the 15-year-old from Eaton but a level par second round was enough to secure the title with the Norfolk teenager slipping back. Her closing 79 left her two shots clear of third placed Fiona Edmond, the England Seniors champion from Aldeburgh.

Leading scores (par 73)
1) Alice Barlow (-3, Bury St Edmunds) 72 + 73 = 145 (-1)
2) Nellie Ong (0, Eaton) 70 + 79 = 149 (+3)
3) Fiona Edmond (0, Aldeburgh) 75 + 76 = 151 (+5)
4) Tiffany Mills (1, Ryston Park) 79 + 78 = 157 (+11)
5) Lucy Pepper (4, Gog Magog) 79 + 79 = 158 (+12)
6) Imogen Leeder (2, Dereham) 82 +78 = 160 (+14)
7) Chloe Tarbard (1, Heacham Manor) 82 + 79 = 161 (+15)