Charlotte Ellis seems to reserve some of her best golf for her visits to Ayrshire.
Four years ago, the 29 year-old English professional carded three birdies over her last six holes to overtake Leona Maguire and win the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Troon and today she returned to Irvine where she posted a five under par 69 to head the field at the Final Qualifier for the 2015 Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Ellis was out in the first group of the day at 7.30am and she was quickly into her stride with birdies at the third and fourth. That helped her to reach the turn in two under par 34 and the English professional went on to card further birdies at the 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th before dropping her only shot of the day when she drove into a fairway bunker on the final hole.
“It has always been one of my ambitions to play in the Ricoh Women’s British Open. One box to be ticked – and I’m excited that I seemed to have done the trick,” she said.
“My brother Phil, who lives in London, had said that he would come up and caddie for me if I made it to Turnberry so I’ve called him and told him he had better be ready to book his flights!”
Ellis was one of 12 players to come through Final Qualifying and earn a place in the field for the Ricoh Women’s British Open which starts at the Trump Turnberry Resort on Friday.
The next best score of the day was recorded by 19 year-old former British women’s and girls’ amateur champion, Georgia Hall, from Bournemouth, who carded a four under par 70 to claim second place one shot in front of South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon and two shots ahead of Germany’s Nina Holleder and her amateur compatriot Chiara Mertens. Scotland’s Carly Booth, Russia’s Maria Balikoeva and England’s Sophie Walker were tied sixth on one under par 73 while Sweden’s Minea Blomqvist and Linnea Strom, Scotland’s Vikki Laing and England’s Rebecca Hudson also made it through on level par 74 after a play-off with France’s Celine Herbin and England’s Liz Young. Herbin and Young will be the first two alternates from the Championship.
This year’s Final Qualifier proved to be a personal disaster for World No 2 amateur, Bronte Law, who came into the event fresh from a superb 16 shot victory in the English Women’s Amateur Championship but crashed down to earth after being disqualified for using a distance measuring device.
“I just wasn’t thinking but, as soon as I did it, I realised what I had done,” she told LGU tournament controller, Gillian Roy.
“There are plenty of notices saying that DMDs are not permitted at this tournament but I had one up to my eyes at the fourth this morning before I realised what I was doing. I knew it meant disqualification but it was too late by then.”
Law was one of three of the world’s top-five amateurs competing at Irvine for a place in this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open. World No 1 had spent some time last week practising at Turnberry but her efforts proved to be in vain after she carded a 78. World No. 3, Madelene Sagstrom, from Sweden, was also eliminated on 75. Among the other well-known casualties were Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, who also shot 78, and Becky Brewerton from Wales, who had Laura Davies caddying for her, but could only manage a 78.