Malton & Norton victory in The Mail on Sunday Classic
December 13, 2015, 8:30 am    

Former Curtis Cup star and European champion Emma Brown rates victory in The Mail on Sunday Classic with her battling team-mates from Malton & Norton as her greatest achievement.

Brown has represented Great Britain and Ireland in three campaigns as Emma Duggleby and also won the British Amateur title in 1994 and the English Amateur twice, but victory in the Spanish resort of El Rompido is up there with them all.

`It`s definitely as special. It`s the biggest achievement for the club,` said Brown, who has played there since she was 12.

The Yorkshire outfit had plenty of support and looked unstoppable in the world`s largest golf club team event after beating Accrington & District 5-0 in the semi-finals on the North Course, but tiny Gosport & Stokes Bay came close to causing an upset.

They led in three of the five matches after eight holes and were all square in another. The Hampshire club, which have just 29 members and only eight eligible for the competition, knocked out Oxford Ladies in the semi-finals when Sarah Greenaway won at the first extra hole. Mo Browne, playing off 16, secured the first point for Gosport by winning 3&2, but tricky windy conditions and fast greens saw Malton`s experience turn the tie around to triumph 31/2-11/2.

Gosport`s Greenaway, playing off 18, went two up after three holes in her match with Brown. But the three-handicapper crept back at the ninth and momentum took over until she eventually won 5&3.

Greenway said: `Emma hits the ball better than any pro. It`s the accuracy. She wants to get to the pin not the green.`

Brown said: `There were a few putts early on which put me behind. I`d just not got the pace of the greens.

`We`re all are lower handicappers, so we`re used to giving shots and we just dig our heels in and get on. The course is a good challenge. It really is a thinking course.

`I was a bit nervous out there. You want to do well and the scoreboard did not look great to start with. We`ve got this far soyou want to finish the job off and it`s great that we have done. It made me feel emotional. We want to come back and defend it.`

Malton`s other points came from Carol Simpson, who had a miraculous second shot at the 16th, when she thinned it out of the bunker on the par three. The ball was heading for the Marismas, the salt marsh that surrounds parts of the course, but the flag unravelled in the wind, caught hold of it and it dropped straight down, half an inch from the hole gifting her a 3&2 victory.

`That was my highlight,` said the five-handicapper. `I`m never going to say again I don`t get any luck. It is moments like that that make it special. I knew then it could be us.`

Jackie Roberts went one up in her match after birding the 13th and never looked back, winning 2&1. She said: `I was terrified today. They were the worst nerves I`ve had playing golf.

`We have wonderful team spirit. Everybody supports everyone else. We want to do it again.`

Wendy Jackson also halved her match. `It gets to you,` she said. `I`ve competed in other events and other sports and I don`t think I`ve ever burst into tears before. We`ve all put a lot of work in behind the scenes to get here. My driving range called to say `Where are you?`

Malton had reached the ninth of the tournament on three previous occasions, but they had an inkling it might be their year after they had an away win at local rivals and previous champions Ganton in the first round. `We`ve seen the trophy there and we wanted to win it,` said Brown.

Jean Mackenzie was a member of the team that reached the quarter-finals in 2001 and said: `It has been a long hard route since then. There`s been some pleasure and a lot of pain. Now it`s worth it. It`s been really emotional.`

Team captain Chris Glendinning added: `This is the ultimate prize. It means a lot to the club. For these girls to achieve this is amazing. It`s been a team effort and they`ve done it.`



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