Golf: Hall returns to retirement after victory

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The Independent Online
Julie Hall's next appointment at Sunningdale is a site planning meeting on Monday for the Weetabix Women's Open. The clubs will have to go back into the cupboard from where they came just over a month ago when Helen Wadsworth phoned her up looking for a partner for the Foursomes.

Hall, one of the last great amateur players, retired from competitive golf after her fifth Curtis Cup appearance at Killarney last June. Now secretary of the Ladies' Golf Union, she has the pick of the St Andrews' courses when time in the office drags. Instead, she spent more time over the winter playing badminton.

In their seventh match in four days, Hall was complaining of sore feet, shins and hands. Three vital interventions on the greens, however, dispatched the former European tour players Jeremy Robinson and David Jones to a 4 and 3 defeat and meant Hall and Wadsworth, the Welsh professional, became the first female partnership to win the event since Dale Reid and Corinne Dibnah in 1990.

Although under the revived handicap system, Hall and Wadsworth received eight shots from their professional opponents, they played good golf all week. In their morning semi- final, they were one under par for 13 holes off the men's tees in beating Bedfordshire amateurs, John Kemp and Mark Wilcox, 6 and 5.

Jones had to hole his eagle putt at the first to win the first and the rest of the final never lived up to that start. All square at the turn, Hall and Wadsworth won the 10th and were handed the 12th when Robinson drove into a ditch. Hall then holed from eight feet for a half at 13, from 15 feet to go three up with four to play, and from 10 feet at the short 15th for a par.

Jones, who holed a brave six-footer on the last to beat Wayne Riley and Gary Smith in the semi-finals, then had to hole from three feet to continue the match, but left it on the right lip.

"I can't wipe the smile off my face," Hall said. "I knew I was swinging the club well when I came here, you can't lose it that quickly. The next time I play in competition, though, may not be until we defend here next year. One chap asked me this week when my season started and I said this was it."

SUNNINGDALE FOURSOMES Semi-finals: J Robinson (The Vale) and D Jones (Three Rivers) bt G Smith (Camberley Heath) and W Riley (Australia) one hole; J Hall (Ladybank) and H Wadsworth (WPGET) bt J Kemp and M Wilcox (John O'Gaunts) six and five. Final: Hall and Wadsworth bt Robinson and Jones four and three.