Former winner Louise Coffey can become the second Ulster player to win the Midland and Ulster titles in the same year when she faces Lurgan's Niamh Ward in the semi-finals of the Hughes Insurance sponsored Ulster Women's Open at Warrenpoint on Friday.
The Malone player, champion in 2011, beat Soibhan Green and Caroline Adams in the first two matchplay rounds and if she can beat Niamh, she will take on the winner of the match between leading qualifier Niamh McSherry of Lurgan and recently graduated Tara Gribben from the host club.
According to Paul Gorry:
... the Ulster Women's Championship is the oldest of the five regional championships in Irish ladies’ golf and was first played 91 years ago in May 1923 as the Ulster Scratch Cup during the first annual ‘Ulster meeting’.
The cup was presented by the proprietors of the Belfast News-Letter. Originally it was confined to players from Northern Ireland. From 1925 it was open to players under the Northern Executive of the ILGU, including the provinces of Ulster and Connacht. From 1928 the Northern Executive covered Ulster only. It was not till 1979 that the championship became open to players outside the province.
Past winners have included British champions Rhona Adair and Maureen Madill, Curtis Cup players Zara Bolton, Claire (Nesbitt) Robinson and Alison Coffey, and Irish champions Daisy Ferguson, Dorothy Forster, Mary Gorry, Laura Webb and Paula Grant.
Its most prolific winner was Jean (Rice) Marks, with 11 victories. She also reached the final of the British championship when it was held at Portrush in 1939. Considering its illustrious history the Ulster, like the other regional championships, has seen a decline in its fortunes in recent years.
Whereas once all the top Ulster players contended for the title it seems to be of secondary importance to today’s players. Just like the South of Ireland in men’s golf, it seems that there are too many competing events drawing players away from the traditionally important championships."
If she wins, Coffey will join Lilian (Malone) Starrett as the only Ulster players to hold the Midland and Ulster titles in the same year.
The Hughes Insurance Ulster Women’s Championship, Warrenpoint Golf Club
- 08:30 Niamh McSherry v Tara Gribben
- 08:40 Niamh Ward v Louise Coffey
- Niamh McSherry bt Julie McCarthy 8&7
- Victoria Craig lost to Tara Gribben 3&2
- Niamh Ward bt Shannon Burke 1up
- Caroline Adams lost to Louise Coffey 4&2
- Niamh McSherry bt Carla Reynolds 4&3
- Jessica Ross lost to Julie McCarthy 3&2
- Roisin Brady lost to Victoria Craig 1up
- Catherine McCanny lost to Tara Gribben 7&5
- Niamh Ward bt Laura Grant 2&1
- Kate Dwyer lost to Shannon Burke 2&1
- Sophie Harrison lost to Caroline Adams 2&1
- Siobhan Greene lost to Louise Coffey 6&5
Par 73 73, CSS 78, 76
156 Niamh McSherry 80 76
157 Louise Coffey 79 78
161 Niamh Ward 85 76
162 Tara Gribbin 81 81
163 Roisin Brady 82 81
164 Shannon Burke 86 78, Sophie Harrison 78 86
165 Julie McCarthy 85 80
168 Jessica Ross 88 80, Caroline Adams 87 81
169 Kate Dwyer 83 86
172 Victoria Craig 87 85, Catherine McCanny 86 86
173 Laura Grant 89 84, Siobhan Greene 89 84, Carla Reynolds 87 86, Kelsey Coey 84 89
175 Bernie McQuade 93 82, Grainne Killen 89 86
177 Sara O'Sullivan 89 88
178 Rosemary Thornton 89 89, Clare Calvert 86 92
179 Louise Hanratty 87 92
185 Brook Hopley 90 95, Dorren O'Grady 90 95
196 Dawn Scarborough 98 98, Helen Caulfield 96 100
201 Laura McCaw 100 101