A team of five women representing Links Golf Club, Newmarket, have won the Annodata UK Golf Club Classic at the Barcelo Montecastillo Resort in Jerez, Spain.
Having won through six rounds over the course of the year to earn a place in the semi-final, captain Sarah Greenall and her team of Edie Douglas, Naomi Pilmer, Marcella Tuttle and Carol Wigham, flew to Spain for the last two rounds accompanied by a band of caddies and supporters.
Facing tough opposition from a strong Ferndown team in the semi-final, Links managed to edge a 3–2 win, with Marcella Tuttle, Naomi Pilmer and Sarah Greenall, playing in the anchor position, gaining the vital points. With the overall score at 2–2, Greenall’s match, in particular, was nail-bitingly close, with a two-hole lead being gained and lost twice, but a flurry of three further successive wins on holes 12, 13 and 14 was sufficient to close out the match on the 16th green by a 3 and 2 margin. With the other winning semi-finalist being Glenbervie GC from Scotland, the team went to sleep that night as the best in England.
Finals day arrived bringing overcast skies and with the forecast of rain, which materialised early in the round. Keeping the same order of play as that for the semi-final, Marcella Tuttle led against Alison Goodwin. Drawing on her considerable experience of playing against similar opposition in county matches, Marcella found herself dormie 7. However, Alison started to fight back, winning the 12th, 13th and 14th to take her to dormie 4. Tension on the 15th eased as Marcella halved the hole to achieve a 4 and 3 winning margin, taking the overall score to 1–0 to Links.
The second match of Edie Douglas against Alison’s sister, Helen, went against the Newmarket team, taking the match score to level, 1–1. Carol Wigham and Naomi Pilmer both gained early leads but faced resistance from their opponents down the final stretch. Sarah Greenall, having built a four-hole lead by the 12th against Margaret Tough, experienced a wobble of her own, losing three holes on the trot to stand just one up on the 16th tee. Solid pars on holes 16 and 17 however closed the match out 3 and 1 in her favour. 2–1 Links.
With Carol Wigham and Naomi Pilmer both now playing the 18th, and the team needing a point from just one of them to take the trophy, all of the other players, caddies and supporters rushed to follow the action. Wigham finished her match in style, winning 2 up to clinch the trophy, followed minutes later by an exultant Pilmer winning 1 up. 4–1 Links. Ladies’ Captain Lesley Ellis was there to congratulate the winners:
"I have never been prouder. What a tremendous achievement!"
"The ladies just held their nerve and kept battling. We were never behind. We’ve all had a few tears of joy. Either that or it’s the Rain in Spain!"
A gala dinner that evening was followed by the trophy presentation. In her acceptance speech, Sarah Greenall said:
"To be crowned Annodata UK Golf Classic champions for 2018 is a fantastic achievement, and I am thrilled to bits for the team, our ladies’ section and the whole of Links Golf Club."
The team captain also paid tribute to the focus and commitment of the team in prevailing under adverse conditions on the course as well as giving credit to Michael and Liam from organisers Matchplay Golf and sponsors Annodata for a supremely well-organised competition.