Alison Taylor set a hot pace in the Women’s Senior Amateur Championship with an opening round of five under par 70 on a glorious day at Royal St David’s.
Playing in the Championship for a first time, Taylor, who turned 51 at the start of the week, had seven birdies and two bogeys to lead by four shots from her playing partner, Lara Tennant, Jo Ashmore, Paula Carver and the best of the Welsh, Jane Rees.
Carver really did have a day to remember. Another newcomer to the Championship, the Worthing 52-year-old had a hole in one with a six iron at the 14th and then went on to add back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th for a fine 74.
Luck for Carver
“I also had a hole in one in a Women’s Amateur at Royal Ashdown so I seem to be lucky at R&A events,” said Carver. “I didn’t see today’s shot go in, but when we got to the green there it was.”
Carver helped England win the golf medal at the recent European Seniors’ Championship in Bulgaria - Taylor was in an Irish team that claimed the bronze. A member at Malahide Golf Club, Taylor acknowledged that the weather had played a part in her sub par golf.
“We were very lucky,” she said. “It was absolutely perfect. “I was also so fortunate to be playing with Lara and the Royal St David’s Captain, Ann Lewis. If that doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.
“I started playing golf in my twenties, but it was only when I took a career break from management consultancy that I started to take it more seriously,” she said.
Two-time US Senior Champ
Tennant, from Portland, Oregon, is a two-time US Senior Women’s Amateur Champion - and is another first timer to the British Championship. She played College golf for the University of Arizona - former Solheim Cup Scot, Kathryn Imrie, was one of her team mates - but then had little time for the game as she got married and had five children.
“But they are all now at College, or beyond, so when I turned 50 two years ago I rededicated myself to golf,” she explained after a round of four birdies, one bogey and a double bogey at the sixth.
Rees, from Minchinhampton, recently claimed her sixth Women’s Senior title at Pwlleli and is aiming to claim another prestigious title on home soil.
Ashmore, from Barnham Broom, had a steady three birdie round. A former county hockey player who had a trial for England, Ashmore made her debut for her country in senior golf ten years ago.
Laura Webb, the defending champion, couldn’t quite manage her heroics from Crail a year ago and had to settle for an opening round of 77. But she is still a contender, lying on the fringe of the top ten on two over par.
It was the font nine that proved costly. She double-bogeyed the fifth and then dropped another shot at the sixth. But three birdies on the back nine helped keep her in the hunt for the 54-hole title.