Beadlow Manor’s Annabel Pitts retains Ladies County title

County champion Annabel Pitts.
County champion Annabel Pitts.

Beadlow Manor’s Annabel Pitts came through a thrilling final to retain her Ladies County title against Sophie Hillier of John O’Gaunt.

The two ladies were partners in winning the Ladies East Region Foursomes but were pitched against each other in the final of the Bedfordshire Ladies County Championship on Saturday at The Bedfordshire GC.

The event, held over three days, started with a 36 hole strokeplay qualifier. Hillier edged Pitts on countback during the strokeplay event, with both scoring 155 to qualify in first and second for the matchplay phase.

In her first match Pitts overcame Natasha Yesinkas (Dunstable Downs) by 4&3, but returned after lunch to a much tougher quarter-final against Nicola Morris of John O’Gaunt.

Morris, who had provided stubborn opposition last year, started strongly and Pitts found herself three down after four holes.

Nonetheless, the 18 year-old retained her composure and clawed her way back to eventually come through by 3&1.

The following day Sophie Mills of John O’Gaunt was her semi-final opponent and in a tight match where only one hole separated the players throughout, Pitts managed to get the upper hand just at the right time, winning by one hole on the 18th green.

The other semi-final was even closer, with Hillier beating home favourite Sally Shayler on the third play-off hole.

The final was full of quality golf with Pitts edging ahead by two holes after nine.

The match stayed this way until the 12th when Pitts went three up courtesy of a 25ft birdie putt from the back fringe of the green. A par on the 13th was good enough to go 4 up but Hillier came back with an excellent 25ft birdie on the 14th.

And when she hit her tee shot to 10 feet on the par 3 15th, and Pitts came up just short of the green the momentum looked to have turned towards the John O’Gaunt player.

But Pitts was not to be denied and ​holed from off the green for a birdie which her opponent couldn’t match to see the Beadlow Manor player win the match by 4&3 and complete a successful defence of her title.

The victory sees Pitts return to Woodhall Spa in September to represent Bedfordshire in the Ladies Champion of Champions competition.