Alice in wonderland after being crowned County Champion

Alice Barnes receiving her trophy from Daisey Kane
Alice Barnes receiving her trophy from Daisey Kane

Golfer Alice Barnes says her new title of County Champion is only just starting to sink in.

Alice, a member of West Sussex Golf Club in Pulborough, shocked herself by defeating one of her close friends to lift the prestigious trophy at East Brighton Golf Club at the weekend.

“It was a bit of a shock, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said the 22-year-old from Billingshurst. “I was playing the Critchley Salver at Sunningdale just before and every shot I hit was a shank.

“But that probably meant I went into the County Championships without putting pressure on myself, I just said to myself go and have some fun that’s what I did.”

Alice’s success was part of a great weekend for West Sussex GC, who notched up a fantastic medal haul, winning the Championship, The Plate and the Sussex Club Scratch Trophy.

A thrilling three days of quality golf at East Brighton GC brought together 56 of the top players in Sussex.

The scoring reflected the challenging and breezy conditions on Friday May 30, but the sun shone over the South Downs to give amazing views and playing conditions on Saturday and Sunday.

Alice came through a thrilling semi-final on Sunday morning to beat Aileen Greenfield (Pyecombe) on the 20th hole.

The other semi-final was a re-match of last year’s final between 2013 champion Karen Sykes (Worthing) and Emma Carberry (Highwoods), which took five extra holes before Emma won the match.

The final saw friends Alice and Emma go head to head for the trophy, and it was the greater consistency of Alice, who plays with a handicap of one, that saw her clinch the title of county champion, beating Emma 6&4.

Alice said: “Last year I won the South Regional Championships but this one was harder to win because the final was against such a good friend.

“We’ve known each other since playing in the juniors so it was a bit weird, I almost didn’t want to beat her.

“But it’s amazing to be champion, I still can’t quite believe it.”

The Plate final saw Daisy Kane of West Sussex beat a previous junior county champion Jelina Fenando (Pyecombe) aged just 16.

Jelina’s performance over the weekend secured her rookie place in the 2014 County team.