Matchplay title for Woodbridge's Vicki

VICKI Inglis became Suffolk Ladies' matchplay champion at Felixstowe Ferry yesterday. She beat Amanda Norman from the host club 5 & 4 in a final played in glorious sunshine with a pleasant sea breeze that was always a factor.

Tony Garnett

VICKI Inglis became Suffolk Ladies' matchplay champion at Felixstowe Ferry yesterday.

She beat Amanda Norman from the host club 5 & 4 in a final played in glorious sunshine with a pleasant sea breeze that was always a factor.

The tall Inglis, often showing signs of a limp because a sore hip, was longer off the tee than her opponent, who has been troubled by a sore back.

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Let's hope that both make a full recovery before they meet Essex in the first of their county matches at Newmarket on June 2.

Norman needed an excellent recovery putt to secure an unlikely half at the second and then went ahead at the third after Inglis had found a bunker with her approach shot. Inglis hit back in a see-saw encounter.

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Norman had another Houdini-like escape at the seventh with a marvellous sand save for a half after her drive had found the rough. Then she produced an eagle at the 442-yard eighth thanks to reading the contours of the slope brilliantly with a downhill putt of some 12 feet.

Any thoughts that this might inspire her were spoilt when she lost the ninth after a bunker shot that few past the pin to the far side of the green.

By now Norman seemed to be on a slippery slope. A missed short putt on the 12th left her with an almost impossible task. Her approach shot to the 13th found long grass on the left and, by then, it was almost all over at dormie five.

Inglis, who celebrated her 20th birthday at the strokeplay championship on Friday, looks a strong player with a cool brain. She must be the first Woodbridge member for many years to become a Suffolk Ladies' champion, the Churchman Challenge Cup having spent most of its time with players from Stowmarket, Felixstowe Ferry and Rookery Park over the past quarter-century.

The first round produced several one-sided matches but county captain Lils James (Rookery Park) beat junior champion Korell Holley (Stowmarket) 2 & 1 in the closest of the early contests.

Sarah Howe of Ipswich made an impact as a player of some quality when beating Trudy Read of Fynn Valley 6 & 5. Vicki Hunt (Ipswich) made experience count in her 6 & 5 win over Jo Taylor, the ladies' champion at both Rushmere and Colchester.

The shock of the tournament was the second round victory of nine-handicap Yvonne Hollis over strokeplay champion Sharon Luckman, who plays off three, on the final green.

By the time word of a potential giant killing had spread there was a sizeable crowd watching on the 18th green.

James seemed to be on her way to victory over Norman when three up after 14 when she retired with a damaged wrist. She was philosophical about it saying that it was “just one of those things.” She has had the injury previously.

In the semi-finals Hollis was four down after four against Inglis. Although she managed to reduce the arrears she had too much ground to make up against one of Suffolk's top players.

In the other semi-final Lizzie Laflin, the holder, was trailing by two in the final stages against Norman but was unable to sink the putts that would have brought her back into the match.

It was a crying shame that Heidi Baek was not involved in the matchplay.

The newly-formed Suffolk Golf Partnership is doing its level best to encourage more girls to take up the game. This seems like a missed opportunity for a star 14-year-old to become an excellent role model.

Suffolk Ladies' Matchplay at Felixstowe Ferry

First round: Sharon Luckman (Felixstowe Ferry) beat Lucy Black (Stowmarket) 8 & 7, Yvonne Hollis (Felixstowe Ferry) beat Kathryn Pitts (Bury St Edmunds) 3 & 1, Vicki Inglis (Woodbridge) beat Jackie Moore (Bungay) 5 & 3, Sarah Howe (Ipswich) beat Trudy Read (Fynn Valley) 6 & 5, Amanda Norman (Felixstowe Ferry) beat Sarah Anderson (Diss) 5 & 4, Lils James (Rookery Park) beat Korell Holley (Stowmarket) 2 & 1, Vicki Hunt (Ipswich) beat Jo Taylor (Rushmere) 6 & 5, Lizzie Laflin (Stowmarket) beat Melanie Firth (Bury St Edmunds) 8 & 6.

Quarter-finals: Hollis beat Luckman one up, Inglis beat Howe 3 & 2, Norman beat James who retired injured, Laflin beat Hunt 5 & 4.

Semi-finals: Inglis beat Hollis 4 & 3, Norman beat Laflin 3 & 2.

Final: Inglis beat Norman 5 & 4.

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