Aileen Greenfield didn’t play much golf during the Covid hiatus, but she demonstrated remarkable consistency to take the lead on one-under-par 72 after the first round of The R&A Women’s Senior Amateur Championship at Ashridge Golf Club.
The Pyecombe golfer was the only player to beat par, and she led by one stroke from Catherine Rawthore, who is seeking to add to an impressive record in the event.
Winner of the 2019 English Senior Women’s Stroke Play Championship, Greenfield had 17 pars and one birdie. The only deviation came at the short, 138-yard 16th where she hit a six iron to 12 feet and holed for the two.
Greenfield comment, “Lockdown was very frustrating because we couldn’t get out to play at all.
“But I did work on my fitness and I’m delighted with the score today.”
Comfortable on course
A talented county level in her younger days, the Sussex golfer feels at her most comfortable since joining the over 50 club.
She added, “Long hitting has never been one of my strengths so I prefer this level where the courses are shorter.
“I am much happier playing in the Seniors.”
2014 Champion in the mix
Rawthore has a great pedigree having won this title in 2014 at Royal Dornoch and she also finished second to Ireland’s Laura Webb at Crail three years ago.
But while Greenfield was steady in the first round, Rawthore finished on level-par 73 after a wildly erratic round.
Four-under-par after a quartet of birdies in the first six holes, she then fell back to one-over after three bogeys and a double - at the short 8th hole - in a terrible four hole run from the 7th.
“I started brilliantly and then had a severe wobble,” was how the Sale golfer summed up her first ten holes.
“But somehow I managed to regroup and held it altogether. Overall, I was pleased with the score.”
Injury no set back
On a day of up and down weather - swirly winds and the odd shower being mixed with warm sunshine - Rawthore ended the round in style with a birdie at the 18th. On in two at the par-5 hole, she just missed out an eagle.
Rawthore’s score was all the more remarkable considering she emerged from lockdown in May with an extremely sore shoulder.
She said, “With time on my hands over the past year, I had been doing a lot of clearing out and other stuff and when I started playing golf again I was in extreme pain.
“A physiotherapist told me it was so bad that I needed a cortisone injection in my left shoulder. I’m amazed and delighted, it’s been absolutely brilliant.”
Moving onto round two
In the second round, Greenfield and Rawthore go out in the final threesome with Bishop Stortford’s Jackie Foster, who was alone in third place on 76. The highlights of her round were birdies at the short 6th and the par-4 14th.
Three players were tied for fourth place on 77 - Fiona Edmond from Aldeburgh, who hit the first shot of the Championship, and Sophie Beardsall, who would have been even better if she had not dropped shots at the 16th and 17th in a disappointing finish. They were joined by one from the last group on the course, Jackie Deeley.Leaderboard | Tee Times | Championship Home