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Marriott Forest of Arden Ladies' Champions

Daily Mail
17 Oct 2018

MARRIOTT FOREST OF ARDEN’S Helen Orton and Julie Baker praised their secret weapon, caddie Derek Stafford, after they swept to victory in The Daily Mail Foursomes, writes Cara Sloman.
The West Midlands duo met Stafford, a member at St Pierre when they visited the South Wales course to prepare for the finals.
After they got chatting the five-handicapper offered to caddie and the couple jumped at the chance. It proved to be a wise decision, as they stormed to the title, beating Hooton Ladies from Cheshire 6&5.
In the final they started to build momentum from the fifth winning, six consecutive holes, which proved impossible for Sharon Steadman and Donna Callaghan Swann to peg back.
A tearful Baker, 56, said: ‘Derek was brilliant at reading the greens and lining us on the tees. He was a calming influence on any wobbles we had. I don’t think we could have done this without him.
‘We’re amazed. It is special to win. It’s great to keep it in the Marriott family too.’
Teammate Orton, 49, added: ‘We probably felt more nervous on the first day and the confidence grew. It’s a format that isn’t played a lot in club golf and that makes it a challenge. You need a forgiving partnership.
‘It’s been a privilege to play in and we would like to thank our fellow competitors. We came as strangers and leave as friends.’
Earlier in the day the pair knocked out Judith Baker and Brenda Green from Merrist Wood 3&1 in the semi-finals, while Hooton Ladies produced an upset, beating the experienced duo from Ipswich, Abbie Symonds and Lottie Whyman 2&1.
Callaghan Swann from Hooton Ladies said: ‘We used up so much to get to the finals. We’ve never played so much golf. We played more in three days than we would in a month. It was a great experience.’
More than 120,000 golfers tried to qualify for the world’s largest golf competition and over 3,000 clubs took part, battling it out through 11 marathon rounds. Our winners are true champions.

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