Opens: Frilford Scratch Salver

DRIVING AHEAD: Frilford Scratch Salver champion Ellena Slater (Kings Hill)

Ellena Slater retains Frilford Heath title with superb front-fronting display

OPENS: Thursday, April 14th

FORMAT: 54-hole strokeplay

Ellena Slater led from the front, in more ways than one, as the Kent junior retained the Frilford Scratch Salver in brilliant style.

The Kings Hill golfer was first out alongside Welsh international Gracie Mayo (Royal Porthcawl) in the 36-hole scratch open and was never behind, winning by five shots from another member of the Wales women’s squad – Harriet Lockley (Burnham & Berrow).

She birdied the first hole on her way to an opening two-under-par 71. There was a slight wobble at the end of front nine in the afternoon, but three birdies in four holes shut the door on any of her possible challengers. Lockley threatened to get in touch after lunch thanks to six birdies on front nine but she could not maintain that blistering pace although she did finish with the joint lowest round of the day.

For the champion, who turned 18 on April 5th, the performance represented a huge confidence boost ahead of the Scottish Women’s Open (Helen Holm), which was due to start tomorrow (April 15-17). 

“I came out with a lot of confidence and the first hole set the tone,” said The Kent Girls captain.

“It is a course which really suits my eye and I was really pleased to see how many greens I hit. I have been working really hard on my mid irons.

BACK IN FAMILIAR HANDS: Kent’s Ellena Slater

“I was also really pleased I showed lots of composure. When I needed to two-putt I did it.”

The Kent county player holed out from ten feet at the first and added further birdies at the eighth, tenth and 16th. At lunch she was five clear of Roisin Scanlon (Woburn), Grace Bowen (Droitwich), Sophia Fullbrook (The Melbourne Club) and Olivia Williams (Churchill & Blakedown).

Ellena was also first out in second round and birdied the second but back-to-back bogeys at eight and nine opened the door and Lockley looked set to pounce.

The Burnham & Berrow golfer made up six shots on the front nine to get within touching distance of the leader.

However the reigning champion birdied 10, 12, 13 and 16 while, behind her, Lockley could not find another birdie on her back nine and she would finish second (on countback). Essex’s Katy Yates also finished on two over while Luca Thompson, the recent Hampshire Rose champion, was a shot further back in fourth. 

Top 10 scores (par 70)
1) Ellena Slater (+3, Kings Hill) 71, 72, 143 (-3)
2) Harriet Lockley (+4, Burnham & Berrow) 78, 70, 148 (+2)
3) Katy Yates (+2, Clacton-on-Sea) 77, 71, 148 (+2)
4) Luca Thompson (+2, Pavenham Park) 79, 70, 149 (+3)
5) Sophia Fullbrook (+3, The Melbourne Club) 76, 74, 150 (+4)
6) Gracie Mayo (+5, Royal Porthcawl) 81, 70, 151 (+5)
7) Alice Barlow (+2, Bury St Edmunds) 77, 74, 151 (+5)
8) Roisin Scanlon (+3, Woburn) 76, 75, 151 (+5)
9) Grace Bowen (1, Droitwich) 76, 76, 152 (+6)
10) Olivia Williams (+2, Churchill & Blakedown) 76, 77, 153 (+7)
For full scores click here