Searle enjoys fine start for English title

PLEASINGTON teenager Helen Searle coped brilliantly with the elements at Royal Birkdale yesterday to take the joint lead in the early stages of the English Women’s Close Amateur Championship first round.

Strong winds and cold temperatures affected the entire field at the famous Lancashire links course, with a lot of high scores put up throughout a gruelling day.

But the 19-year-old Yorkshire golfer coped better than most by firing a highly respectable three-over par 78 at Birkdale.

Searle, who joined Pleasington as a member earlier this year, carded four birdies but she did find trouble along the way, with five bogeys and a double bogey, although the damage was minimal in heading the leaderboard at one point, alongside Moor Hall’s Melissa Nicol, Knowle’s Shelby Smart and Rachel Goodall of Heswall.

However, later in the day, the trio were overtaken by Remedy Oak’s Georgia Hall, who closed on two under.

It was a chastening first day for all competitors, including the small contingent of East Lancashire golfers.

But Searle’s Pleasington club-mates also achieved solid scored.

Brogan Townend was among the last to finish on the course when carding an eight-over 83.

Hollie Vizard scored 86, with Nikki Foster 85 and Catherine Roberts going one better, posting 84.

Chorley's Emily Taylor, who plays for Royal Lytham, managed a five-over-par 80.

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