Smart's thoroughbred display endorses the form book

Smart's thoroughbred display endorses the form book


Jessica Smart continued her summer to remember at Mendip Spring by winning the Carlsberg Marstons PGA South West WPGA Championship and, in doing so, endorsing the form book.

Having proved the best in Great Britain and Ireland at Kedleston Park last month by winning the OCEANTEE WPGA Championship, the pro from Saunton Golf Club, Devon, was strongly fancied to follow suit on the regional stage.

A one-under par round of 73 proved the point but she was run close by the home venue’s Katie Rule.

Confronted by a course made even more challenging by parched fairways that produced pinball bounces and glass-like greens that rebuffed attempts to land the ball close to the target, Rule finished two shots adrift of Smart (above) on one-over.

That the total was surpassed by just four others in the men’s and women’s event which were contested in tandem speaks volumes. Even more so that Smart’s one-under matched that of Joe Cruse, winner of the men’s tournament.

Rule (above) had set the pace in negotiating the outward half, reaching the turn in two-under.

Smart by contrast was on level par after a double bogey at the par-three eighth erased two birdies.

However, while her rival lost momentum on the back nine, Smart, displayed sang froid at odds with the scorching temperatures. Tricky putts to save par were made and any potential ambushes side-stepped.

“I’m managing to stay calm,” she explained. “Probably because I’m really enjoying being out on the course.

“It was tough today. It was really bouncy and hard to judge what clubs to hit into the greens. But I managed it quite well.”

As did four-time WPGA Championship winner Tracy Loveys. There were several occasions when, despite the unreceptive greens, she judged her approach shots almost to perfection to set up birdie opportunities.

“I’ve still got it but not for the entire 18 holes,” she said wistfully. Not so Smart - next stop the USA and the Women’s PGA Cup.

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