Saturday, 8 August 2009
S4/C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe Friday August 7th
Set off for Harlech at 9.40am. The traffic on the M56 was fine but the A55 was a bit of a pain. Eventually got to the Conwy/Llandudno junction and set off down the Vale of Conwy A470 towards Betwys-y-Coed. That route is very pretty which means pootling grockles everywhere. The journey took ages. You bypass Betwys and head towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. In South Wales the slag heaps were coal. Up here it's slate.
The road to Harlech runs by the estuary. After 2 hours and 20 minutes Harlech Castle came into view. I parked up right next to Royal St David's Golf Club in the shadow of the castle. £3 to park but nothing to enter the golf.
Having had a par 3 to start last week, there is a par 3 to finish this week. It was playing downwind and the green was very quick. As Lydia Hall the Welsh player was telling her Mum and Dad by the side of the green, the only way to play the hole was to land the ball way in front of the green and roll it up to the flag. Anything landing on or really close to the green was going straight through the back.
Headed off to the 17th green. Karen Lunn hit her approach into the cross bunker that runs across the front of the green and didn't get out of the bunker very well. She made bogey and was absolutely livid. Next up was Gwladys Nocera, Melissa Reid and our own Becky Morgan. Quite a few people following that group. Gwladys was not playing any better than the previous 2 weeks. She missed a very short par put. Not good form going into the Solheim. Diana D'Alessio was in the next group and I'm pretty sure Tam, Sophie's new caddie, was on her bag.
Rebecca Hudson and Johanna Mundy were playing as a twosome. The cold that Marianne Skarpnord's Mum had told us she was suffering from in Lytham had obviously taken its toll. Lisa Hall (with Mardi Lunn on her bag), Louise Stahle and Iben Tinning were the next group through. Iben Tinning had one of her best friends on the bag. Luckily for her she was using a trolley as she was huge. Mardi saw me standing by the green and gave me a wave of recognition. Mardi was lining up Lisa's put whilst having a fag. Lisa made a two put for par but hit her tee shot on 18 into the greenside bunker. Bogey on the last and she finished at plus nine with no chance of making the cut.
Karen Stupples was hitting balls on the range and Bobby gave me a wave of recognition. Headed off to the 1st tee. Karine Icher, Julieta Granada and Lydia Hall had just teed off. LD showed up early for her tee time and was happy to stop and sign autographs for kids. She got a giggle from the large crowd by the wall at the 1st tee as she walked into one of the posts railing off the 1st tee.
Caught up with the Icher/Granada/Hall group hitting their second shots on the 1st and hung around in the landing area waiting for LD. She did not disappoint, her tee shot hit with a hook that ended up way left in the deep wispy, tangly stuff. Local opinion was they would all take a two club length unplayable penalty drop. LD was not at all pleased with the lie she found but she took a real good whack at it and advanced it 75 yards up the fairway into the semi rough. She made her par as it is a very reachable par 5.
Becky Brewerton was paired with a couple of Swedes, Anna Nordqvist and defending champion Lotta Wahlin. Becky's tee shot leaked a little left and it pulled up just short of a fairway bunker. She was able to go for it and came up a little short of the green but was able to make her birdie nonetheless. Karen Stupples tee shot also leaked a little bit left and ended up in the semi rough. She spotted me as she arrived and acknowledged my existence. I waved in recognition and she instigated a quick chat.
Watched the Yang/Stupples/Johnson group tee off from behind the 2nd tee and made my way over to the 3rd fairway to check on Becky's group. She had birdied the 2nd as well as the 1st but only got a par on the 3rd. The tee shot on 3rd involves a dog leg so the players can't see where their tee shot lands. Trish Johnson had actually hit her tee shot bang in the middle of the fairway but she first checked out Amy Yang's ball, then Karen Stupples' before realising hers was the shortest but the only one in the fairway. Bobby Inman saw her wandering around and told her that if she was looking for the nearest fish and chip shop it was over in that direction, pointing to the ice cream van. Trish told him she was not going to take that sort of rubbish from someone wearing shorts like his. They were a touch loud but I've seen much worse.
Went and sat towards the rear of the par 3 11th to watch the groups come through until the leading groups reappeared. First group included Anja Monke and Sophie Giquel. They had both landed in the front cross bunker. One of the caddies came up with a plan to ensure both got a decent shot with the bunker raked. Anja Monke was initially full of the giggles but her bunker shot stopped her laughing and she made bogey. Almost didn't recognise Elisabeth Esterl, the ex-Solheim Cup player, until I saw the trousers she was wearing. She seemed to have her Aunt Fanny on her bag. It turned out to be one of the local members who was pushing her bag to give her a break and someone to talk to.
The cross bunker at the front of the green was doing good business. It covers the entire narrow entrance to the narrow green. Julieta Granada didn't get up and down for par. LD was unlucky that her teeshot ran off the green to the left and was in the collar of rough. She hit a lovely little pitch shot but had to settle for par. Her body language told you what you needed to know about the day she was having. 2 over for the day.
Becky was next up and she was having a good day, 3 under. She hit a nice tee shot at the 11th and rolled in the birdie put to great cheers and a huge smile from Becky. Anna Nordqvist also made birdie and exchanged a fist bump with her caddie. Karen Stupples had also got it to 3 under for the day but she hit her tee shot way left. Big cry of fore from the tee had everyone on the tump taking cover.
She landed in a nasty spot up in the hay on the side of the tump. Bobby was obviously a bit agitated as he was waving his arms around as the marshall had not pointed out where the ball was quickly enough for him. After much contemplation and discussion, and with Amy Yang and Trish Johnson taking cover on the side of the green, Karen hit her chip shot and was disgusted with it as it flew over to the far side of the green in the semi rough. When she got to the ball and took her stance she told Trish Johnson she was standing in a rabbit hole. Motion motioned for the marshall to join them but Karen got no relief from her hole. She hit a good chip shot that left a very makeable bogey putt. Damage limitation to only lose one shot.
Headed across the 12th fairway to see Karen's group hit their approach shots. Karen hit a great approach shot and I saw later she had made the bridie putt. I didn't see it because I watched Becky Brew's group tee off on the neighbouring 13th tee. Becky got her second shot onto the front right portion of the green leaving a nasty swinging downhill putt. She raced the eagle putt passed the hole but made the 6 footer for a birdie. She had also got one on the 12th and at this point was 6 under on the day.
Went to the 18th green to see the main groups finish. Lydia Hall's Mum and Dad had walked the entire course with her. Her Dad looked a little knackered. She wasn't happy being three over for the day having just doubled the 17th. A victim of the OB where the bottom of the driving range pokes out into the fairway. She bogied the 18th as well, failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
LD had also made double on the 17th and was lagging behind the others in her trudge up to the 18th green. She had a birdie try but had to settle for par. Katherine Hull ended up with a 68 and no bogeys to move up the leaderboard. A local who had been following Becky round the loop arrived and told the scorer at the side of the green that Becky had bogeyed the 15th after having to take a drop for an unplayable lie, birdie the 16th but given it back again by bogeying 17. Her dad arrived having walked round with Becky and her Mum had come out from the clubhouse to see her home.
A par at the last meant she was at that point 6 shots off the lead but in with a shout over the weekend. The lead had dropped to 4 after Amy Yang double bogeyed the 17th. Karen Stupples had also double bogeyed 17, another victim of the driving range OB. She hit her tee shot on 18 into a greenside bunker and wasn't at all happy with her bunker shot. She made bogey and strode off the 18th green obviously angry with herself avoiding the scorer who was waiting at the usual exit from the green for confirmation of her score.
A great days golf watching. Decided there and then to come back on Sunday.