Georgia Hall celebrated her second successive victory in the Rose Ladies Series on Thursday and then looked forward to the spectacle of a Grand Final that Justin Rose could only have dreamt of when he and his wife set up this mini circuit last month.
In his Bahamas home, Rose revealed he was constantly refreshing the scoreboard from the Shire London, the penultimate event in the eight-strong run. As it also happened to be his 40th birthday, this shows how invested Rose has become in a ground-breaking series which he has not only founded, but he also funded and attracted sponsors to.
“It is wonderful to see how competitive it is and well done to Georgia on going back-to-back, a feat which is always difficult,” Rose told Telegraph Sport. “And to have her top of the American Golf Order of Merit and Charley [Hull] in second going into the last week, and with others, including Liz [Young] whose initial idea led to all this, also in touch… well, it’s perfect really.
“Kate and I were planning to have a drink or two for my birthday tonight, but we will definitely raise a glass to the success of this series.”
With £20,000 on the line for whoever heads the standings at the denouement of the three-day Computacenter Grand Final next Friday, then this is clearly a prize well worth winning. Yet do not underestimate the pride that will come with it for the champion.
Hall and Hull have been friends and rivals for a long time and both would love to go into the Ladies Scottish Open and the Women’s Open at Royal Troon carrying the silverware. There is also the little matter of Wentworth’s West Course playing host to the final day (after North Hants and The Berkshire host the opening two rounds) — the first time the famous layout will have staged a female professional competition.
“I’m can’t wait — it will be a great occasion to sign off a great series,” Hall said, after a five-under 67 handed her a three-shot win over fellow Englishwoman Young and Scot Kylie Henry. “I missed the first two events and thought I may have conceded too much ground in the Order of Merit race, but three seconds followed by two wins has been put me up there. It’s been consistent and, again, I played very solid today.”
Indeed, this was a study in steadily compiling a core. Hall arrived without playing a practice round at the plush Barnet venue — the only UK layout that the late Seve Ballesteros ever designed — but inexorably played her way to the top of the leaderboard with four birdies on the first nine.
The Shire London has exceptionally quick greens and bogeys are all too easy to locate, as Hall discovered with dropped shots on the sixth and 14th. But with birdies on the 10th, 15th and 16th, the 2018 Women’s Open champion cruised clear.
Hull, the world No 25, endured a nightmare start, dropping three shots in the first two holes, but an eagle on the 13th helped her to finish one-under in a tie for fourth with Hannah Burke and Wales’s Becky Morgan. Hull will be relieved that it is still in her hands; if she wins at Wentworth, she wins it all.
Mention should also be made of the performance of Roisin Scanlon, the 12-year-old from Bedfordshire. She went out in par and with four to play was in the top 10 on one-over. Alas, her round fell apart and she struggled in for 79. But on seven-over she still finished better than halfway and ahead of a few Ladies European Tour winners.