Delay allows Vaudin to defend her title

BOTH Guernsey champions are back to defend their titles this weekend – and in Rochelle Vaudin’s case lockdown actually proved beneficial to her chances of retaining her women’s crown.

Rochelle Vaudin will start the defence of her Saffery Champness Island Women's Championship crown in the 18-hole qualifier at L'Ancresse on Sunday. (Picture by Gareth Le Prevost, 28526314)
Rochelle Vaudin will start the defence of her Saffery Champness Island Women's Championship crown in the 18-hole qualifier at L'Ancresse on Sunday. (Picture by Gareth Le Prevost, 28526314)

Had the Saffery Champness Island Championships taken place in their original slot in the 2020 domestic golf calendar, new mum Vaudin admits that, in all probability, she would not have been able to compete this year with son Quill having arrived at the start of May.

But the delay to competitions caused by the coronavirus means that she will take her place in the 18-hole qualifier at L’Ancresse on Sunday, although she will head there without too much expectation.

‘Even now, I have just entered without having played too much, so there’s not really any pressure on me this year because people know I’ve just had a baby,’ Vaudin said.

‘I was practising chipping in the garden pretty much right up until the week I gave birth – I would have played more on the course if not for lockdown – and two weeks later I was back out playing a few holes. I just kind of got on with it.

‘Obviously with having Quill, I am not playing as much as I did previously, but I am still managing to get out two or three times a week and practising a bit as well,’ she added, before revealing with a chuckle that Quill has been observing his mum on the range but does not like the noise of a driver.

Although she has her first title under her belt, which was won at La Grande Mare, Vaudin still has a long way to go to catch up with her playing partners for the 18-hole qualifier – Veronica Bougourd and Kay Mapley – who have an incredible 23 between them, 17 and six respectively.

‘I’m out with the legends, the big guns,’ said the reigning champion, who revealed that she is also keen to learn from the way they play L’Ancresse.

‘From learning the game at La Grande Mare, I struggle playing links golf a bit. I enjoy playing at L’Ancresse, but I do tend to spray the ball around there a bit more and visually I find it harder to play.’

Whatever happens in this year’s Island Championships, though, Vaudin takes delight in the fact that she will remain Channel Islands champion for another year.

Meanwhile, reigning Guernsey men’s champion Jeremy Nicolle has overcome some injury problems to take his place in the 30-strong qualifier.

Nicolle has missed the Royals opening two matches of the Nedgroup Trust Limited Scratch League, but looked in good nick winning his singles for them on Monday and he will tee up alongside Mick Marley and CJ Elmy.

With the draw being based on handicap, the current best player in the island Danny Blondel will be out first alongside 11-time champion Bobby Eggo and their Island teammate Daniel Griggs.

The men’s 18-hole qualifier starts at 8am on Sunday with the women’s competition, which this year has three divisions, following on from 9.20am.

The top four go through to the match-play semi-finals on Saturday 15 August, with the finals on Sunday 16 August.

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