Golf: Wadsworth's raw deal: Maxwell and Carr thwart fairer sex

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The Independent Online
IT'S a sensitive one, this. After Miss Emily Pankhurst came the powerful combination of Ms Dale Reid and Ms Corinne Dibnah and, while they struck a blow for women's golf, they did no favours whatsoever for the suffragettes in their wake. On Tuesday there were 13 ladies in the field for the 53rd Sunningdale Foursomes. Last night there were none.

Nobody seemed to mind when Diane Fishwick, in the inaugural event in 1934, and then the legendary Joyce Wethered, in 1935 and 1936, appeared on the board of honour. But after Reid and Dibnah, both professionals, won this open tournament by the crushing margin of 7 and 6 in 1990, the committee had a rethink. Professional lady golfers had their four-shot allowance cut to two.

Are the fairer sex being treated fairly? Helen Wadsworth, the 29- year-old Welsh professional, thinks not. Yesterday, after she and her partner, Lee Jones, went out in the third round, Wadsworth felt that the old handicap system should be restored.

'Two shots is too few,' she said, 'especially when you play off the back tees as we did this week. When Reid and Dibnah won it was an indication of the form of two very good players, not an indication that they'd been given too many shots.' Asked why she played in this event, Wadsworth replied: 'I like to beat the men. I like to see their faces when I drive past them.'

She had no chance of that in miserable, windy conditions here and her opponents, Keith Maxwell and John Carr, often went 50 to 60 yards past her from the tee, but it was still a close-run thing. 'Golf is not all about length,' she said, 'but it's a factor. To survive you need a very good, strong male partner.'

Maxwell is the club professional here - he has never got beyond the fourth round in 17 attempts - and Carr the son of Joe, three times the amateur champion and a former captain of the Royal and Ancient. They won at the 18th, where Maxwell holed a 25ft putt.

Michael King, the former Tour professional, and his protege, James Healey, went through to today's fourth round with a one-hole victory over Simon Edwards and Gary Houston. Edwards and Houston, who knocked out Darren Clarke and Andrew Chandler on Tuesday, had another giant-killing yesterday morning when they beat Richard Boxall and Derrick Cooper, the Tour professionals who won this title two years ago.