Flawless Dickens plays down talk of great expectations

Flawless Dickens plays down talk of great expectations


Suzanne Dickens set the pace in the opening round of the OCEANTEE WPGA and Assistants’ Championship to put herself on course for a memorable double – winning the tournament for a second time and another appearance in the Women’s PGA Cup.

The pro from Thorpe Wood Golf Course, Peterborough, posted a blemish-free four-under par round of 70 at Kedleston Park to establish a three-shot advantage at the tournament’s halfway stage.

Should her lead remain intact at the end of day two Dickens will repeat the success she enjoyed at Blairgowrie in 2014 and claim the £3,000 first prize.

There is also the incentive of securing a place in the five-strong Women’s PGA Cup team that will represent Great Britain and Ireland in New Mexico in the autumn by finishing first or second at the Derbyshire venue.

However, should defending champion Heather MacRae occupy either of those places, Dickens can book her ticket to Albuquerque by finishing as one of the two leading WPGA members.

Dickens was a member of the team that played in the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup in Texas three years ago but, with only half her mission completed on a course that hosted final Open qualifying last week, she is looking no further than the next 18 holes.

“I’m just taking one shot at a time, right now,” she said. “I know that’s a cliché and everyone says that. But you’ve just got to focus on the job in hand and play each hole as they come.

“Whether you hit a bad shot or a good shot, you’ve just got to move on. I’m just going to focus on my game and do some more practice, sharpen up the irons a bit."

Reflecting on her round which featured three successive birdies round the turn and another at the par-five 18th, Dickens added: “I was very pleased with four-under.

“I would have taken anything in the region of level par. I had a great group to play with – we all spurred each other on.”

In addition to Dickens, the group comprised Marie Martindale and The PGA and Women’s PGA Cup captain Sarah Bennett.

Martindale, Eugenie Knight and Abigail O’Riordan (above) are Dickens’ closest pursuers on one-under while 1997 US Women’s Open Champion Alison Nicholas is a shot further back on after recovering from an inauspicious start.

Having recorded four bogeys in the first five holes, the two-time Solheim Cup captain signed off with three birdies in the last five holes to finish on level par.

Meanwhile, MacRae, who was playing in the final round of the Amundi German Masters less than 24 hours before teeing off, is five-shots off the pace and level with Emma Allen on one-over.

Allen. one of 16 PGA trainees in the field, is a shot adrift of O’Riordan in the chase to win the Assistants’ element of the tournament which is being run in tandem with the WPGA Championship for the first time.

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