The pair, from Elton Furze Golf Club, went round Marriott Sprowston Manor in Norfolk, in a betterball score of three-over par 74 and were five points clear of the field.

They led seven pairs who qualified for the grand final of the competition at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel, Golf and Country Club on October 7. The tournament is run by the English Women’s Golf Association.   

The qualifiers, who all scored 41 points or better, all win a pair of ECCO shoes and a PING Collection sweater to wear at the final. Mary and Gina also each won a PING golf bag.

This was only the second time Mary and Gina had played together – the first was in their club’s PING qualifier. “Our old partners are out of the window now,” laughed Mary, who plays off 12.

Gina is a 29-handicapper who has been playing golf for only 18 months and has come down by six shots this season.

The pair made a quick start to scoring when Mary birdied the first two holes and parred the third. Gina then added a par, net eagle, and a par, net birdie – and they were on their way to amassing 26 points for the first nine holes.  

They followed up with 22 on the inward half – and at no time did they score less than two points on a hole. “We just gelled really well,” said Mary.  

Neither player has ever reached a national final before and they can’t wait to get to the Forest of Arden. “It’s so exciting,” said Gina.

The runners-up were long-time leaders Val Aspland and Julie Brereton from Boston West in Lincolnshire.  They notched up 43 points, helped by a superb performance on the par threes where they had four gross pars and a birdie.

“We came here with the attitude that we wanted to have a good time – and it’s been brilliant,” said Julie. “We have absolutely loved it.”  

One point behind them were Angela Body and Lisa Liu from Belton Woods in Lincolnshire who were in the last group on the course and came in with 42 points.

They pipped Anna Fairs and Ann Maskell from Felixstowe Ferry to third place on a countback of the last three holes.  This is the third year in a row the Suffolk pair have qualified for the regional final – but the first time they’ve made it through to the grand final.

 

They were one of many pairs who took the opportunity to have custom fitting with PING fitters, who did brisk business on the driving range. They were also among those who made firm friends with their playing partners and have arranged to meet up on future golfing dates.

Qualifiers

48 pts Mary Brenstuhl & Gina Rudkin (Elton Furze)

43 Val Aspland & Julie Brereton (Boston West)

42 Angela Body & Lisa Liu (Belton Woods); Ann Maskell & Anna Fairs (Felixstowe Ferry)

41 Nicky Alexander & Judy Armitt (Sandy Lodge); Jo Pearson & Chris Gore (St Andrew’s Hospital); Sarah Weller & Peggy Gosling (Woodhall Spa)

Full details: www.pingchampionship.com.