Mannings Heath’s Topping is back bidding for coveted England Golf title

Charlotte Topping Bridgestone Chase Your Dream
Charlotte Topping Bridgestone Chase Your Dream

Mannings Heath’s ladies’ champion Charlotte Topping has her sights set on becoming England Golf’s handicap player of the year after winning a place in the competition’s finals for the second year running.

The big-hitting eight-handicapper came sixth in a field of over 100 club medal winners from all over the south of England in the regional final of the Bridgestone Chase Your Dream Trophy at Guildford.

She carded nine pars and a birdie for a level par nett 72 on the 5577-yard downland course and her top ten finish means she now goes through to the national final at Woodhall Spa on August 15.

Topping finished fifth overall last year at Frilford Heath and will be hoping the confidence she gained from that experience will prove an additional boost in her bid for one of England Golf’s most coveted titles.

Topping also reached the quarter finals of the Sussex championships which finished on Sunday at Ifield. She only scraped through the 36-hole scratch strokeplay stage to reach the last 16 after playing well for a morning 78 but slumping to a disappointing 89 in an afternoon of wayward tee shots.

This put her through to a knock-out match against first round leader Brandy Rook from Royal Eastbourne, a two-handicapper and former county champion, but Topping shrugged off her strokeplay blues to win 2 and 1 before losing 3 and 2 to Chartham Park’s Sasha Gardiner.

Heath are celebrating a triple success after their scratch, handicap and senior teams all reached the quarter-finals of their respective county inter-club competitions.

Saturday saw the scratch team triumph 6½-5½ at Seaford in the Oliver Shepherd Neame Trophy and the handicap squad win 3-2 at Royal Eastbourne in the Birchwood Motor Group Trophy while their seniors beat The Dyke 3-1 at home on Monday in the Cyril Blake Foursomes to complete a notable hat-trick.

In the scratch team, teenagers Rohan Miah, Jack Hobby and newcomer Jack Osbourne plus 21-year-old university scholar Gregor MacIntosh all came through unbeaten in both foursomes and singles, while veteran Andy Main, 11-time club champion, after teaming for a 4/3 victory with Hobby in the foursomes fought back three down to secure a vital half in his head-to-head match against Gavin Park.

Heath’s Birchwood Trophy win at Royal Eastbourne saw their three winning pairs all wrap up their fourball matches without playing the last three holes. Ben Perry and Chris Whitter won by 7 and 6, Kevin Dixon and Joe Holness came through 5 and 4 and Ryan Westley and Alex Oakley shook hands on the 15th four up.

In the seniors’ foursomes John Gleaves and David Russell fought back splendidly from three down to win 2 and 1 after Gleaves rolled in a 15- footer for birdie on the 17th. That result wrapped up the match with Mike Peacock and Kevin Swailes already 3 and 2 winners and Rene Ventura and Roland Azor and Nigel Evans and Roger Bridge both dormie going down the last. Although neither pair could clinch victory their half points made sure of Heath’s progress.

Emma Francis and Gerry Wyatt combined beautifully to claim the EwenMe Jug with a better-ball 47 points despite being restricted to nine tenths of their 11 and 26 handicaps. Margaret Brown and Meriel Jolley were runners-up with 40.

In the nine-hole Kingfisher roll-up Gary Hayes made few mistakes off his 23 handicap to post 22 points, two better than Nigel King.

In Heath’s junior Stableford, eight-handicap Freddie Muggeridge was only three over par gross for 41 points and Jack Hobby level par with a 39 point card that reduced his handicap to two.

The juniors were also in action at Chartham Park in the fourth round of the North Sussex League but despite being the only team to have all four players scoring in the 30s, had to settle for third place on the day behind Cottesmore and the home club.

Heath sit level with Cottesmore and Ifield at the top of the table with two remaining rounds.