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Golf - 06. September 2007.

Oxfordshire teenagers win PING qualifier at Marriott St Pierre

They returned a net 67 – eight under par - for a two-shot win in the regional final at Marriott St Pierre Hotel and Country Club, Chepstow.

Laura, 16, and Vicky, 19, are members at Bicester Golf Club where they are regular golfing partners.

They lead eight pairs who qualified for the grand final of the competition which will take place at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel, Golf and Country Club on Tuesday, October 2.

The qualifiers, who all scored net 73 or better, all win a pair of ECCO shoes and a PING Collection windshirt to wear at the final. Laura and Vicky also each won a PING golf bag.

“It will be great to play in the final,” said Vicky, who is an 18-handicapper. Laura, who plays off six and represents Oxfordshire ladies and girls teams, will be making her second trip to the final, having qualified for last year’s inaugural event with a different partner.

The pair played immaculate golf, with net scores of four-under on both halves. “Laura played exceptionally well,” said Vicky. “She had a few birdies and just missed an eagle opportunity on the 16th.”

The runners-up were Trisha Southard, the ladies’ captain of The Wiltshire, and her partner Sarah Cushnahan, who scored net 69.

“We’re having a very good year as a club,” said Trisha, who plays off 15. She and Sarah, an 18-handicapper, are old friends and an established golfing pairing and they gelled well.

“I came in on the front nine,” said Sarah, who had an eagle three on the second. “Trisha played the back nine really well.

“The course was lovely, very challenging and we’ve had a really good day. We’ve been looked after very well. Now we’re looking forward to the final – it will be exciting.”

They enjoyed the betterball format: “It’s nice to play your own ball and your own game and yet to be in a partnership,” said Sarah.

They were among the many competitors who took the oppportunity to visit the driving range during the day to try the latest PING clubs. They were also able to see a display of PING Collection clothing and to try on a selection of ECCO shoes.

This was the fifth of six regional finals which will decide the field of 48 pairs for the grand final at Marriott Forest of Arden. There, they will play for the PING trophy and the winning pair will also receive prizes worth up to £500 (less the value of prizes won in an earlier round). Prizes will be awarded to the second placed pair to the value of £100 and to the third placed players to the value of £50.

Qualifiers (Par 75, SSS 75).

67 Laura Watkins and Vicky Shepherd (Bicester).
69 Trisha Southard and Sarah Cushnahan (The Wiltshire).
70 Barbara Lewis and Judy Hadley (The Bristol); Chris Kidd and Pat Nicholson (North Wilts).
71 Fran Davies and Jan Fukuyama (The Mendip).
72 Maxi Strandberg-Glas and Jeanette Franks (Marlborough); Helen Palmer and Margaret Davis (Ross-on-Wye).
73 Viv Monument and Linda Bowden (Bowood)

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