The 91st Roehampton Gold Cup took place on Saturday in the most glorious weather. Everyone involved with the event could not believe their luck as the day dawned, windless, dry, bright and sunny. Those most relieved were the greenkeepers under the leadership of Ashley Allpress who had been having nightmares for over a month as the rain lashed down and the ground became more and more sodden. They achieved miracles producing greens at 12 on the Stimpmeter (very fast for those not versed in the mysteries of stimp) come Saturday morning. (The fairways were at about minus 12, such was the damp underfoot!)
All players reported for duty from as far afield as Archerfield in Scotland, Wrexham in Wales, St. Mellion in Cornwall. Ages ranged from 16 to 43 and the highest handicap was 3, with many scratch and below, in the amateur ranks. Twenty-two professionals made up the field of 60 and delighted they were to be at Roehampton as there is precious little on the professional European Tour for them to play in. They all praised the condition of the golf course and wished they could take the greens away with them!!
Two young professionals shared the Gold Cup this year – Hayley Davis, aged 25, from Ferndown in Dorset, and 20 year-old Inci Mehmet from Royal Mid-Surrey. Over two rounds their total scores were 145. However, Inci took first prize on second round countback. (Her 71 to Hayley’s 73.). Inci was just back from two months playing in tour events in Australia and was heading for more in Morocco this week. Both girls had glittering careers at county and national level before becoming pros. Inci hit the headlines winning both the Surrey Girls Championship and the County Championship in the same year in 2012 and going on to play for England girl’s and women’s teams before joining the professional ranks in January 2017. Hayley won the Dorset Girl’s Championship in 2008 and was runner-up in the County Championship, winning this in 2010; in 2011 she was England Girl’s Champion and in 2014 English Strokeplay Champion. During these years she was also a regular member of England Girl’s and Women’s squads. She had a successful career at University in the USA before turning professional in October 2015.
In third place and top amateur this year was perennial Kerry Smith from Waterlooville with rounds of 72 & 74. Kerry has been a stalwart supporter of the Gold Cup and has remained loyal to the amateur game. Playing for Hampshire and a regular England International from 1997-2008 including the GB&I Curtis Cup team in the USA in 2002. Kerry has been Hampshire Champion four times (2002, 3, 6 & 16); has won the Hampshire Rose three times in 2001, 2 & 16; was England Champion in 2004 as well as helping Hampshire to win four county championships.
Kerry beat Cara Gainer (Castle Royle) on countback and in third place was Thalia Kirby (Stoke Park) on 150 with 17 year old Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer) in fourth on 151.
Amelia was the current holder of the recently inaugurated Gold Rose Trophy combining results from Roehampton with the Hampshire Rose held at North Hants Golf Club on April 8. This she retained and was able to take the trophy back home with her for another year.
Playing on their home course, the two Roehampton Club members enjoyed mixed fortunes. Annabell Fuller with a handicap of +3 followed a promising morning 71 with 80 in the afternoon. ‘It all fell apart rather suddenly’ she said. However, her morning score was good enough the collect the prize for the best morning round. Young left-hander Lauren Gooding, h’cap 2, having recently reached the semi-final stage of the Surrey County Championships had rounds of 78 & 82. With GCSE’s looming, her studies have taken priority this year. For both of them, there is always next year to look forward to.
The Club is most grateful to Russell-Cooke Solicitors for sponsoring this event for the 15th year.