Joy for mum and daughter duo in Thonock Park golf final

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY -- mum Helen Boulton and daughter Rachel, who pulled off a dramatic win at Gainsborough Golf Club. (PHOTO BY: Leaderboard Photography).
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY -- mum Helen Boulton and daughter Rachel, who pulled off a dramatic win at Gainsborough Golf Club. (PHOTO BY: Leaderboard Photography).
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A mother and daughter combination pulled off an historic victory when Gainsborough Golf Club hosted the final of a major national championship.

The plate final of the Ping women’s fourball betterball championship was dramatically decided by a sudden-death play-off for the first time after three pairs had tied on 45 points.

They all had to return to the 18th hole of the Thonock Park course -- before mum Helen Boulton and her daughter Rachel triumphed in the England Golf event.

Helen, a 20-handicapper, settled matters in style when she chipped in for a net birdie, appropriately using a Ping wedge.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Helen, of the Springwater Golf Club, of Calverton in Nottinghamshire. “It’s crazy!” added Rachel, who was the 2015 Nottinghamshire county champion and helped her team to win last year’s English County Finals.

Second and third places were decided on countback, with Jing Reade, of Brignorth Golf Club in Shropshire, and her partner, Heather Stiles, finishing as runners-up, ahead of Carole Morris and Jill Sparkes, from Romsey Golf Club in Hampshire.

This is the 11th year of the Ping championship, and it made additional history by attracting entries from the largest-ever number of clubs, 890, and by involving more than 16,500 women in the qualifying stages. The top 50 pairs nationally qualified for the grand final, while the next 50 played in the plate final.

Dave Fanning, Ping’s European marketing director, told competitors: “This is a very special event, and we are delighted to be able to host it at the home of Ping Europe.”

The Boultons have an excellent record in the championship, having reached the plate final once before and coming fifth in last year’s grand final.

But as the play-off was announced, Rachel was counting the cost of a three-putt during regulation play. “I had a putt for an eagle on the sixth and I left it about one foot away,” she said. “I went to tap it in and missed! I thought: oh my gosh! But I said to mum: let’s just keep going.”

They stuck to the task and when Helen had her big chance, she had just one aim. “I just thought: get it close,” she said. “That’s what Rachel has been saying to me all day long.” Her chip from the fringe started on target and stayed there, popping into the hole to applause.

Reade had no regrets about second place, saying: “This has been so exciting, too exciting for me!” It was only the second time she had played with Heather, who added: “We just wanted to come and have a really nice game of golf.”