Chelsea crowned county champ

Sussex ladies' golf champion Chelsea Masters clutches the trophy. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150506-164649002)
Sussex ladies' golf champion Chelsea Masters clutches the trophy. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150506-164649002)
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Golf talent Chelsea Masters has fulfilled her main objective for the year by winning a county title.

The Hastings-based Highwoods Golf Club player won the Sussex County Ladies’ Golf Association County Championship 2015.

It’s the one I wanted to win the most; this year I was aiming for this trophy.

Chelsea Masters

She said: “It’s definitely up there (with her best achievements). It’s the one I wanted to win the most; this year I was aiming for this trophy.

“I’ve been a semi-finalist twice before and it was nice to go that next step. I knew if I played well I had a chance, but it doesn’t matter who you play it’s going to be tough.”

The historic event was contested by 54 of the county’s top women over three days at Ifield Golf Club in Crawley.

Masters was tied second after the initial 36-hole strokeplay phase on day one with rounds of three-over-par and one-over despite heavy downpours and windy conditions.

The top 16 advanced to the matchplay knockout stage, which began the following day. Masters beat Katherine Russell (Royal Ashdown Forest) 2&1 in round one before seeing off Lizzie Price (Nevill) 4&3 in the quarter-finals.

The semi-finals took place on day three and Masters continued her progress with a 3&2 win over Jelina Fernando (East Sussex National), setting up a final against three-time champion Aileen Greenfield (Pyecombe GC).

The match was nip and tuck, with some great shot-making in wet and windy conditions. But Masters produced some of her best form in the whole event to prevail 2 up with the aid of six birdies.

The 23-year-old felt the key moment came on the par five 15th. After snap hooking her drive and nearly going out of bounds, Masters chipped out before playing a brilliant seven iron to three feet for a half which kept her 1 up.

Victory was all the sweeter for Masters given that it came on her mum Julie’s birthday and her dad Steve caddied for her. “I wouldn’t have won it without my dad,” she said.

Steve first got his daughter into golf some 13 years ago and she became Sussex junior champion in 2009. Last year Masters won the South Region ladies’ title and reached the semi-finals of the English Mid-Amateur Championship.

Masters is ultimately still hoping to play on the Ladies’ European Tour one day, but during the remainder of this season, the scratch handicapper is aiming to retain the South Region title and perform well for Sussex in County Match Week later this month.

“For the rest of the season I want to try and keep my game going and get a few more good results in,” she added. “I’ve been working on my swing so it’s (a case of) trying to get consistency.”

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