By Gareth James
Wales Golf championships are back with a bang this weekend with the Welsh Ladies Amateur Championship as the first major event for more than 18 months.
With the Coronavirus pandemic having seen almost all the 2020 championships wiped out, meaning for the first time outside war years there were no Welsh ladies or men’s amateur champions, the easing of lockdown sees their return this summer.
First up are the top lady amateurs in Wales, competing at Wenvoe Castle just outside Cardiff, with a strong field of 30 taking part including former champions Lauren Hillier, Newport, Katherine O’Connor, West Byfleet, and Lea-Anne Bramwell, Abergele.
Former finalists Ffion Tynan, Minchinhampton, and Bethan Morris, Tenby, will be back, along with Wales internationals Cary Worby, Newport Links, and Jordan Ryan, Newport.
Ryan has been using the newly-opened Inclusive Short Game Academy facility to help hone her game ahead of the championship.
“Last year we were able to run only two events, one junior and one senior, in the small window between lockdowns, but this feels like a big return for us,” said Wales Golf championships manager David Wilson.
“It is the start of what we hope will be a full schedule, with a little less time than normal to fit in all the events.
“It is nice to say that the Ladies Amateur will have a relatively normal look to it. Players will even be able to take flagsticks out of the holes because of the sanitising facilities available.
“Wenvoe Castle is looking in really good order ready to provide a good test for our players, with the usual format of a stroke play even followed by match play.
“It is quite exciting for elite golf to be returning, with the promise of a full season, after the problems of last year.
“Many of the players will not have competed in a top amateur event like this since 2019 and hopefully it will have a familiar feel to it.”
The 2021 Welsh Ladies Amateur Championship tees off on Saturday, May 22, and runs through to Bank Holiday Monday, May 24.