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Golf - 16. January 2008.

England’s Liz Bennett wins in Florida

England international Liz Bennett gave her Curtis Cup hopes a great boost with victory on American soil in the prestigious South Atlantic Ladies Amateur Championship at Oceanside Country Club, Florida.

Liz, from Brokenhurst Manor in Hampshire, was one-under par for the 72-hole event, known as the SALLY. She won by two shots and became the first British player to take the title since 1994.

Winner Liz Bennett (Brokenhurst Manor GC, Hampshire) with the trophy.
photo Colin Farquharson, Cal Carson Golf Agency

She is one of six members of the GB&I training squad – the Ladies’ Golf Union’s shortlist for the Curtis Cup – who have travelled to Florida to play on the Orange Blossom Tour.

Four of them are leading England players and members of the English Women’s Golf Association squads. The internationals playing alongside Liz are English champion Naomi Edwards (Ganton), Kerry Smith (Waterlooville) and Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton). England girl international Rachel Connor (Manchester) has also made the trip.

Liz, the 2006 English strokeplay champion, moved into the lead in the SALLY after the third round, taking over from Rachel Jennings who had been in front at the halfway stage.

The Hampshire player was two shots clear at the start of the final round and she kept a firm hold of the lead, helped by a number of impressive up-and-downs.

On the outward half she was chased by two-times US Mid-Amateur champion, Meghan Bolger, who got within a shot before finding trouble on the fifth.


The group picture from left to right Megan Bolger (Haddonfield, NJ) - 4th Place Jessica Yadloczky (Casselberry, FL) - 2nd Place Liz Bennett (Sway, England) - Champion, Michele Thompson (Scotland) - 3rd Place, Alexandra Bodemann (Palm City, FL) - 5th Place, Kristina Wong (Bradenton, FL) - 6th Place, Rachel Jennings (Staffordshire, England) - 8th Place, Missing - Candace Schepperle (Birmingham, AL) - 7th Place).


photo Colin Farquharson, Cal Carson Golf Agency

On the way home the challenge came from Florida’s Jessica Yadloczky who birdied the shot 16th to move within a shot of the lead. But Liz held her nerve with two solid pars while Yadloczky bogeyed 18 - after almost holing her chip shot to force a play-off.

Scotland’s Michele Thomson, who is also in the LGU squad, finished third, three shots behind Liz. Rachel Jennings also had a top-10 finish with a share of seventh place.

Leading scores :
Par 288 (4 x 72)
Players from US unless stated

287 Liz Bennett (Brokenhurst Manor) 73 72 70 72.
289 Jessica Yadloczky 69 76 72 72.
290 Michele Thomson (McDonald Ellon) 73 76 69 72.
291 Meghan Bolger 76 69 72 74.
292 Alexandra Bodemann 71 73 74 74.
293 Kristina Wong 72 74 72 75.
294 Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton) 71 70 78 75, Lindy Duncan 71 76 72 75,

Other selected scores:

304 Naomi Edwards (Ganton) 76 73 74 81 (18th).
305 Kerry Smith (Waterlooville) 77 81 76 71, Sahra Hassan (Vale of Glamorgan) 73 78 74 80 (jt 19th).
313 Rachel Connor (Manchester) 73 76 85 79 (24th).


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