Castle Royle Golf Club on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April 2024

This is my first year of County Championships as County Captain, so it was an absolute honour for it to be hosted by my home club, Castle Royle. Although that did seem to raise everyone’s expectations of how far I would personally progress in the tournament. Little did they know I would be drawn against the eventual winner, Emma Peters, in the first round, and lose resoundingly 8 and 7!! My excitement at reaching the last 16 was short lived, but as I said to Emma, it was wonderful to watch such excellent golf, it would have been even better had she not been beating me at the time!

The other matches in the last 16 were much closer fought battles… well, let’s  face it, they had to be!

Sarah Heath beat Donna Hunt 4&3

Tracy Crew beat Gayle Kennedy on the 19th

Lottie Cadle beat Katy Lansley 1 up

Vicky Prietzl beat Jane Sly 4&3

Chloe Walkington beat Linda Hunt 5&3

Katherine Irving beat Sheree Dove Wilde 3&2

Charlie Keenan beat Tess Samuels 2up

 I think what was is astonishing about the last 16 is that there is a SIXTY year age gap between the youngest qualifier and the oldest….. {Not mentioning any names, Tess and Katherine}.   That tells you everything about golf, it is a sport for everyone at any age, and age is certainly not a barrier to great golf!

We then moved on to the last 8 matches.

Sarah Heath beat Tracy Crew 4&2

Vicky Prietzl beat Lottie Cadle 4&2

Chloe Walkington beat Katherine Irving 1 up

Emma Peters beat Charlie Keenan 6&5 

So we were left with our 4 semi finalists, Sarah, Vicky, Chloe and Emma. The plan was an 8.20 start on Sunday morning. The weather had other ideas…..   After a complete deluge on Saturday night, where 25mm of rain fell, we arrived at Castle Royle to find submerged greens and fairways and a  “Course Closed” sign….

Not exactly what we had planned at all, in fact, not even close!

After much discussion about re-arranging dates etc, the rain finally stopped around 8.45 am. I contacted our match referee, Fran Campbell, and asked her if she could come and do a course inspection with me. (She was delighted as she was still in bed!) Ross, our head greenkeeper, assured me that if the rain stayed away, the course would “probably” be playable in an hour. Our 4 semi-finalists would simply have to be patient…

Ross proved to be correct, and our first semi-final finally teed off at 10.30

Both semi-finals consisted of some great golf, it made me wonder how I make my home golf course so difficult!

Emma beat Chloe 5&3, Sarah had a trip down the 19th hole to beat Vicky.

So we had our finalists, Sarah and Emma. Both had played great golf all weekend and Friday, with Sarah winning the Tegner and the Tournament Cup on Friday. It is worth mentioning that because of her early victories on Saturday, Emma teed off in the final at 3pm having played almost 18 holes less than Sarah….. That’s practically a whole round, and when you’re playing 6 rounds in 3 days that had to have helped.

The fantastic level of golf did not falter, and Emma, having made 9 straight pars, made the turn 1 up.

The match stayed very close. Both players found the water hazard off the tee on the 13th  but Emma still managed to make par.

Emma was 2 up going down the 16th, both hit good drives, Emma’s approach was a little right, Sarah’s was a little long. Emma managed to make par with a fantastic chip in from off the green. It was a real “Tiger Woods” moment, with the ball teetering on the edge for a couple of seconds before dropping in. Sarah’s par putt shaved the hole….

Emma won 3&2. It was a great final played in great spirit.

Emma Peters 2024 Champion

2024 Champion  Emma Peters from The Berkshire

Runner Up 2024 - Sarah Heath

Runner up: Sarah Heath Goring & Streatley

Semi finalist - Vicky Preiztel

Semi finalist – Vicky Preiztel (Goring & Streatley)

Semi Finalist - Chloe Walkington

Semi Finalist – Chloe Walkington (Castle Royle)

It was wonderful to have so much support for the final, so thank you to all those that turned out to watch. A massive personal “thank-you” to Deirdre Cuthbert, Jo Russ and Fran Campbell for all their help and guidance. Thank you to Castle Royle for hosting, and Ross and his amazing team of greenkeepers. We really couldn’t have done it without them.

Jules Tarr
Berkshire County Captain