Tadcaster lady beats European pro's to Sunningdale crown

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Charlotte Austwick wins prestigious Sunningdale Foursomes after defeating European Tour golfers Simon Wakefield and Matthew Southgate in final.

A North Yorkshire golfer fought off competition from European Tour players and Dame Laura Davies to secure a surprise victory in the Sunningdale Foursomes.

Charlotte Austwick, 23, and her partner Jack Clarke were the final pair standing at the prestigious event, which counts Luke Donald, Peter Alliss and Sam Torrance among its previous winners.

Austwick, a member at York’s Fulford said: “I am just on cloud nine, I can’t believe that it’s true. It’s the biggest thing I have ever won and it’s hard to put it into perspective.”

The duo won the competition on the 18th green after Austwick knocked a tricky 45-yard chip over a bunker to within six feet, which Clarke then holed.

“I couldn’t even look,” said Tadcaster-born Austwick. “I had my snood up around my eyes, I was so nervous. I didn’t want to play any more shots, I was that drained after seven rounds in four days. He said it was one of the easiest putts he had all week and I ran at him with my arms wide open. It was a special moment.”

In the final, Austwick and Clarke were up against European Tour duo Simon Wakefield and Matthew Southgate, who flew out to Portugal for the Madeira Open this week.

Their opponents in the competition give an indication of the scale of the achievement by Austwick.

Aided by a handicap system, Austwick played off the same tees as the men and said she hopes that her victory proves that lady golfers can match up to their male counterparts on most counts.

“On some of the tees I blasted my drive down the middle and put some of the pressure on the boys, who were nervous they wouldn’t be able to get past the girl. That gave me a bit of belief in myself.”

‘I ran to him with my arms open, it was a special moment.’
The Sunningdales Foursomes is one of golf’s most unique and charming events. The knockout competition sees a wider range of players than any other competition, with former Premier League footballers teeing up alongside top European Tour and Ladies European Tour golfers.

“Sunningdale is such a unique event,” added Austwick. “It’s amazing and I think it’s good for the female game to get some players on the same level playing field as the men, to get that comparison. The length isn’t there, but other than that, the female game is not a million miles away from the men.”

Following the victory, Austwick went out for a celebratory Chinese meal, before heading back north.

With plans to turn professional in the near future, Austwick has an important season ahead. She has been working with her new coach, Alastair Grindlay, throughout the winter and explained how this victory has confirmed that they are on the right track.

Austwick said: “We have changed everything in my game, so to get out and play under pressure really nails it on the head that we have done the right thing.”

Having played since she was 11, Austwick is in doubt that she owes a huge debt of thanks to her parents, who themselves are keen sportspeople and have encouraged her golfing ambitions.

“There has been sacrifices in our family, we’ve never had any big family holidays. But now I say to my parents that it’s an investment and I will pay them back soon,” she said.

Having graduated with a degree in Accounting, Business and Finance from the University of York last year, Austwick has a back-up plan should her dreams of a golf career not pan out.

But, given her achievements in the Sunningdale Foursomes, she’s set to do just fine.

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