Quartet from Leeds targeting county title

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FOUR Leeds Union players will be among those heading to Huddersfield GC on Friday on a two-fold mission: to win the Yorkshire women’s amateur championship and catch the eye of White Rose selectors ahead of Northern Counties match week.

Moortown GC’s Sophie Olley, Waterton Park GC ladies champion Toni-Louise Naylor and Selby GC duo Megan Garland and Ellie Goodall will be among an elite field of 33 looking to negotiate the first stage, 36 holes of stroke play.

The top 16 will progress to the match play stages, which will be held over the weekend.

Up for grabs as well as the trophy currently held by the host club’s Megan Lockett will be places in the squad for next month’s Northern Counties match week, to be held at Penrith GC.

Yorkshire Ladies County Golf Association’s 2016 captain is Dawn Clegg, who said: “Obviously, the selectors for the county team will be in evidence at the championship at Huddersfield.

“At the moment it is undecided as to how many we will have in the squad for match week (which Penrith GC will stage next month), but we are waiting to see what happens at Huddersfield.

“We will have a selection meeting after the event when one of the issues will be what size squad to select.

“There is no restriction under the competition rules as to how many players we can have in the squad, but you do not want to have too many players kicking their heels on the sidelines.

“That is not what they want either. The team will be very keen to get out there and play – and very, very keen to put the record straight after last year.”

Only a 5-4 defeat to Lancashire prised the Northern Counties title from defending champions Yorkshire’s hands in an encounter that was decided in the final match on the final green at Sandiway, Cheshire.

Twenty-two-year-old Olley has been at Moortown for five years and has represented their scratch team while home on holiday from university in the USA.

A five handicapper, she has represented Yorkshire at junior and second team level, and was Northern Area winner of the Abraham Trophy at the English Girls’ Championship as a junior.

Two years ago she played in the Symetra Tour Championship at LPGA Jones Course on a sponsor’s exemption.

Naylor has also represented her county at senior second team level and last year won the US Kids European Championship at Gullane.

More than 600 players competed in different categories on four courses in East Lothian with Naylor winning the 13-14 year-old girls’ section by one shot.

Garland and Goodall competed at the Welsh Open Ladies Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Conwy GC at the weekend.

Garland placed 25th (83 80 77) while club-mate Goodall finished 31st (82 81 79).

Defending champion Lockett will be among the favourites to succeed at Huddersfield along with Rotherham GC’s Olivia Winning, recent winner of the Scottish open stroke play title, and Woodsome Hall GC’s Rochelle Morris, who last week was picked to play in the Curtis Cup for Great Britain & Ireland against the USA in June.

Leeds & District Union's team captain Nigel McKee.

Leeds look in excellent shape ahead of new league season