England Golf: Women’s County Finals

CELEBRATION TIME: Surrey’s eight teenage squad members enjoy the moment

Surrey make their point against Somerset to end long wait for national glory

EG: Monday Sept 20th

FORMAT: 6-team, round-robin matchplay series

Surrey ended their 24-year wait for Women’s County Championship glory at Denham yesterday, defeating runners-up Somerset to ensure they did so with a perfect record.

Captained by Walton Heath’s Nicola Taylor, they needed just one individual point in the final round of matches to secure the trophy. Somerset needed a 4.5-0.5 victory to deny the champions, who came out on top 3.5-1.5.

Bolstered by the introduction of junior England international Lottie Woad (Farnham), Surrey’s team of talented teenagers also saw off Hertfordshire, Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire in a highly competitive series. There were no 5-0 clean sweeps in any of the 15 matches.

“They all played their hearts out,” said Nicola, who was the only member of the nine-player squad aged over 19. “On and off the course they were great and I think it was our foursomes pairs which made the difference. We won seven and drew two of our ten foursomes matches and that just emphasised the strength in depth.”

Bolstered by a good-luck video montage featuring the likes of former players Inci Mehmet, Annabel Dimmock and Dame Laura Davies, Woad and Ellie Monk (Windlesham) were the only changes from the team who qualified from the South Regional final with Sarah Mardani and Canice Screene at university in America.

And both players would remain undefeated all week while Woad won all her five singles matches.

Monk partnered her captain in the opener against Hertfordshire and the duo won 7&6 as Surrey opened with a 3.5-1.5 victory.

Later in the day the crunch match with perennial powerhouses Yorkshire was never in much doubt as Woad and Ellen Yates (West Hill) and Taylor and Monk all won convincingly.

Winning Surrey squad
• Nicola Taylor (Capt, Walton Heath)
• Ellen Yates (West Hill)
• Lottie Woad (Farnham)
• Abbi Rowlands (Foxhills)
• Ellie Monk (Windlesham)
• Olivia Horsford (Wimbledon Park)
• Hyun-Ji Kim (Royal Wimbledon)
• Alex Phelps (Woking)
• Maty Santili (Res, Foxhills)

LONG TIME COMING: Nicola Taylor celebrates with hr Surrey team-mates. Picture courtesy of Leaderboard

However it was a much less clear-cut victory the following morning as Buckinghamshire looked set to end their unbeaten run but Abbi Rowlands (Foxhills) and Ellen Yates (West Hill) came from one down with two to play to get a critical halve in the foursomes while Monk was two down after 12 against junior England international Olivia Lee but won 13, 14, 16 and 17 on her way to gaining a huge point.

In the penultimate round of matches, Olivia Horsford (Wimbledon Park) and Hyun-Ji KIm (Royal Wimbledon) combined for a 9&7 success, playing some sparkling stuff on the back nine – they started on the 10th. Alex Phelps (Woking) also claimed her first singles point as Surrey beat Lincolnshire 4-1.

Then the winning point against Somerset came in the foursomes, Kim and Horsford running out 5&4 victors while Woad and Yates claimed last-hole victories against fellow internationals Patience Rhodes and Davina Xanh.

It was also a special week for 14-year-old reserve Maty Santili (Foxhills). She caddied five times and was unbeaten across the three days of competition.

Scores – Day 1 (am)
• Lincolnshire 3, Somerset 2
• Surrey 3.5, Hertfordshire 1.5
• Buckinghamshire 1, Yorkshire 4
Day 1 (pm)
• Somerset 3, Hertfordshire 2
• Buckinghamshire 4, Lincolnshire 1
• Yorkshire 2, Surrey 3
Day 2 (am)
• Buckinghamshire 1.5, Surrey 3.5
• Yorkshire 2, Somerset 3
• Lincolnshire 3, Hertfordshire 2
Day 2 (pm)
• Buckinghamshire 2, Somerset 3
• Lincolnshire 1, Surrey 4
• Yorkshire 2, Hertfordshire 3
Day 3
• Yorkshire 3, Lincolnshire 2
• Buckinghamshire 3.5, Hertfordshire 1.5
• Somerset 1.5, Surrey 3.5