Gloucestershire golfers Carol Park and Clare Spiller realised a four-year ambition when they won the national final of the Australian Spoons tournament at Belton Park Golf Club in Lincolnshire.
Ever since the Naunton Downs pair first partnered each other in the stableford foursomes competition they have set their sights on winning the Spoons. They’ve won their club round three times in the last four years but never progressed past the regional final – until this year.
Today, they made the most of their chance to win the trophy. They scored 19 points over the front nine of the golf course before play had to be abandoned because of torrential rain – and they claimed the Spoons on countback from two other pairs.
The runners-up were Marjorie Scott and Shirley Higgins of Maxstoke Park, Warwickshire, while third place went to Celia Fowler and Pat Benson of Harrogate in Yorkshire.
“It’s wonderful, absolutely fantastic,” said Carol, who is the Naunton Downs ladies’ captain. “We came here semi-relaxed, telling ourselves that we would just do as well as we could…. but deep down desperately wanting to win!
“We can’t quite believe that we’ve won a national final – and the club is going to go bananas!”
Clare, who plays off 25, and Carol, a 29-handicapper, both took up golf in a case of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Carol’s husband had always promised himself he would return to golf when he retired and she decided to take up the game as well. Clare had enjoyed a range of sports and was introduced to golf when she met her husband. She tried to encourage him to ski, but when he decided against the slopes she headed for the fairways.
The Australian Spoons is a stableford foursomes competition for players of 15 handicap and above. The finalists, who were the overnight guests of England Golf all came through club and regional qualifying rounds and were:
Carol Park and Clare Spiller of Naunton Downs, Gloucestershire – South West region
Marjorie Smith and Shirley Higgins of Maxstoke Park, Warwickshire – Midlands South
Celia Fowler and Pat Benson of Harrogate, Yorkshire – North region
Sue Burgess and Sue Wenlock of Kilworth Springs, Leicestershire & Rutland – Midlands North
Sue Henderson and Chrissie Kemsley of Faversham, Kent – South region
Kerry Enever and Jenny Chamberlin of Diss, Suffolk – East Region
Belton Park Golf Club has presented each pair with a fourball voucher to play the course because the competition round was curtailed.
Caption: 2014 Australian Spoons winners Clare Spiller (left) and Carol Park.