Smart and Horsford triumph at Kedleston Park

Smart and Horsford triumph at Kedleston Park


Another windy day at Kedleston Park Golf Club provided a tough test for second round of the Women’s PGA Professional & Assistants’ Championship, but Jessica Smart (Saunton) and Lauren Horsford (Horton Park) won the battle against the wind to claim the Professional Championship and Assistants’ Championship respectively.

Smart, who has achieved back-to-back Professional Championship wins with the 2023 addition, was thrilled with the somewhat unexpected accomplishment. She elaborates: “It feels really good, it hasn’t quite sunk in as I was behind the whole way round but I’m really pleased. The conditions haven’t been easy - yesterday we had to battle with the wind and the rain, today it was still windy but I think playing at Saunton probably helps as it gets really windy down there, so I’m used to battling the wind! I made a couple of mistakes in the middle of the round but clung on and made two nice birdies to finish which is always good.”

Smart (pictured) and her playing partner, Sian Evans (Rochester & Cobham) both started the day on five-under-par, but after two holes, Smart was chasing Evans throughout the remainder of the round. However, she held her nerve and a three-shot swing at the par-five 18th (Smart with a birdie, Evans with a double bogey) saw Smart snatch the win at the last hurdle with a final score of two-under-par (69, 77).

She says of the week: “It’s a real honour to have won this event and it’s really good to see Oceantee supporting the WPGA Series and how it’s growing - there’s so many of the girls playing this week so it’s onwards and upwards I think!

"We played the Women’s PGA Cup in October, and most of the girls from the team are here so it was nice to see them again and catch up, see how they’re getting on - it’s been a really nice week.”

Horsford (pictured far left) started day two of the Assistants’ Championship on five-under-par, two shots ahead of Emma Allen (Boundary Lakes) after a first round 69. Allen, the defending champion (on right), challenged the first-round leader throughout the day and the two both finished with scores of three-under-par after 36 holes, forcing a play-off.

Horsford and Allen played hole one at Kedleston Park and a birdie from Horsford was enough to secure the win after just one hole, as she explains: 

“Today was tough - yesterday felt like a breeze compared - I played really well yesterday! But I think it’s a given when you’re in the last group of a tournament - you’re all fighting for first place, you’re all close and watching the leader board, putting yourself under a lot of pressure and you want to win!”

“The front nine wasn’t too bad, I finished one-under through nine which I was quite pleased about, then struggled towards the back, made a double bogey at 14 which didn’t help - I missed a short putt, and then it all got very close coming up the last few holes.

“I managed to hole a decent birdie putt on 17 which I was obviously happy about and I did have the chance to get the win on 18 with a short-ish putt but it sloped left to right and wasn’t easy, so ended up going down in the play-off and a birdie happened to seal it so to be honest, it was tough - the wind was up there, yesterday we had the rain, so I’m just really pleased to get the win - it feels amazing, I’m over the moon to walk out with the win today. Every win helps give you more confidence and makes a massive difference.”

Horsford has just finished her second year of PGA training, alongside her sister, Olivia (Wentworth Club), who also played in the Assistants’ Championship this week. 

During the prize presentation, Horsford was presented with the Clare Lipscombe Trophy by Roy and Silvia Lipscombe, in memory of their daughter.

Final scores for the 2023 Women’s PGA Professional & Assistants’ Championship can be found here.

View images from the event at Kedleston Park here.


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