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Sam Malone, 13, wins England's Grand Medal Final
2nd July 2011


Sam Malone ( & EGWA)

Thirteen-year-old Sam Malone from Northumberland claimed the title of England's champion club medal player when she won the EWGA Volvo Grand Medal Final at Droitwich Golf Club, Worcestershire.

The youngster from Parklands Golf Club left the field trailing by three shots as she returned an impressive net score of one-under par 69.

The competition, played in sunshine and cloud and a testing, swirling wind, was contested by the cream of England's club medal players. Each finalist had returned the four best medal scores at her club during 2010 and had won through a regional final to take her place at Droitwich.

The runner-up on 72 was Oki Northwood of Tiverton (25 handicap), on countback from Sophie Mills (11) of Wyboston Lakes. Lynda Dunbar (19) of The Essex, Hannah Mulliner (6) of Northampton Golf Club and Lorraine  Morgan (18) of South Winchester took the remaining prizes on countback with scores of 73. The scratch winner was Alison Knowles of Hickleton, Yorkshire, who scored 78. The CSS for the day was 73 reduction only.

Sam Malone's triumph was watched by her father, Bryan, who introduced her to golf and caddied for her, and by her mother, Tricia.

This was the biggest event Sam had ever played in and her efforts to have a practice round were defeated by torrential rain. She confessed: "I did feel a bit nervous on the way here but I was more relaxed when we started and I really liked the course. Now, I'm very happy!"

Sam has double reason to celebrate. She expects her score to cut her handicap to 12, realising her goal for the season and meaning she can cash in on a promise of £200 from her father. "I'm going to put it towards a new Bushnell," she said.   

She has been steadily improving her golf, reducing her handicap from 24 to 18 last year and continuing the progress this season. She's already won two club trophies and is in the semi-finals of a county girls' competition and the quarter finals of her club championship. Earlier this season she also qualified for the matchplay stages of her county championship - it was her first attempt and the first time she had played 36 holes.

Meanwhile Oki Northwood was astonished and delighted with her success as runner-up. "I didn't feel I had played very well and then I found I had won a prize!" she said. She paid tribute to her husband, Bill, who encouraged her to take up golf just three years ago and who caddied for her.

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