RICHMOND GC’s Karen Jobling exceeded her own expectations as a sub-par outward nine helped propel her into the semi-finals of the English senior women’s championship at Ross-on-Wye GC.
It left three-handicapper Jobling three up against Aileen Greenfield (Pyecombe GC) and enabled her to play “sensible” golf in to secure a 6&4 quarter-final win.
“Either I needed to make mistakes or she needed to make some birdies (to get back in the match) and the back nine is much harder than the front nine,” said Jobling, runner-up to Huddersfield GC’s Pat Wrightson in the recent Yorkshire veterans’ championship.
“I just needed to keep the ball in play and be sensible, not go for any silly shots, not try to win holes where a half would be quite sufficient.”
In the morning she had defeated Carol Houghton (The Nottinghamshire Golf & Country Club) by two holes while Wakefield GC’s Julie Wheeldon bested former British seniors champion Katherine Russell, of Royal Ashdown GC, by the same margin.
The Yorkshire pair’s afternoon matches also had identical margins of victory albeit with Wheeldon on the wrong side of the scoreline against Jo Shorrocks (Bigbury GC).
On Friday morning Jobling plays Jackie Foster (Bishops Stortford GC) for a place in the final while Cath Rawthore (Sale GC) faces Shorrocks.
It means there will be a first-time holder of the title with Jobling eager to be the one to break new ground.
This is her second English senior women’s championship and she has already gone two steps further than last year at Woodhall Spa GC after managing to calm her early nerves.
“You have to forget nerves and get on with the job at hand,” she said. “In the morning I was one up reasonably early, got two up, then back to one, but I was in control most of the time. Even though it fluctuated a couple of times, I felt reasonably comfortable.
“In the afternoon I played very well on the front nine, I was one under par. That put me three up and I just tried to hold that rather than do anything silly.
“I had a little bit of scrambling to do, but I putted well and holed a couple of key putts and hit some good shots into greens so I was pleased.”
Last year she only bowed out on the last green in round one to Lindsey Shaw (Chevin GC), who would go on to place fourth for the year in the women’s senior rankings.
“I was pleased that I’d taken her to the 18th, so I’m ecstatic that I’ve superceded that this year,” said Jobling. “I never really expected to get this far.”
Jobling entered the match play stage as third-highest qualifier after a fine opening round of two-over-par 75; the second round of the 36-hole stroke play stage was washed out on Wednesday.
“It was so disappointing because people want to play some golf,” she said. “But the course staff did so well to get us out on Tuesday because it was very, very wet ; they did well to get the course open, they worked incredibly hard.”
Having played her practice round in dry, fast conditions, she needed to recalibrate on Tuesday.
“I was really positive because the course was wet so you could attack the pins a little bit more,” she said. “In the practice round it had been dry and the greens were a lot quicker – so on Tuesday the notes went in the bin and I had to start again.
“But I was positive with my club choice and just went for it. There was no run on the ball on Tuesday, it was just a case of trying to get in the right position.
“If you went off the fairway it was a bit muddy and difficult to gain any accuracy.”
She has played all of Yorkshire veterans’ county matches in the last couple of years without losing a match, and said of the semi-finals: “I’ll just give it a go and hopefully play as well as I have done today so I don’t let myself down or anyone else down.”