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Golf: Bev's brilliant in title thriller; GOLF: Sudden death play-off decides the woman golfer of the year.

Byline: By Peter Ricketts

JULIE Brown, of Brocton Hall, broke the Halesowen women's course record by four shots in the Birmingham Mail Woman Golfer of the Year tournament - but didn't win the title.

Her 68 gross gave her a nett score of 65 which was equalled by Bev Griffett, of Dudley, off her handicap of 12 - and Griffett won the sudden death play-off.

At the first extra hole, Brown had her chance to win with a birdie putt, but missed. At the next hole she drove out of bounds and Griffett coasted to victory.

Brown's 68 did not even win her the best gross prize. That was valued at pounds 100 but as runner-up nett she collected a pounds 200 voucher. All the pounds 1,200 worth of prizes were provided by Goldsmiths, Britain's leading quality jewellery chain with over 170 shops including their flagship store at Birmingham Bullring. In her early days Griffett was a successful cricketer and captained the England Under-19 and Under-25 teams as well as the West Midland ladies. Her win brought her a voucher worth pounds 500 and the right to defend her title next year.

Nearly 70 women competed in our popular event and voted the Halesowen course a winner as it recovered rapidly from an early morning downpour.

Julie was not dismayed by losing at the last fence. She is just finding her feet again after several years as a Tour professional and a 10-year lay-off.

"I'm really enjoying golf again," she said, "and look forward to taking over as Staffordshire captain next month."

She was doing well on the Ladies European Tour until it fell apart around 1990 and she left. Now she is a housewife and mother and for the first time her 10-year-old daughter Emily caddied for her. Among the other Mail competitors was Harborne's Fliss Johnson, the England international and last year's winner of the England Ladies Amateur Championship.

She is turning professional soon but her bid to leave the amateur ranks in style came adrift when she put two balls out of bounds and had to settle for a 76 gross (78 nett).

Halesowen captain Peter Crumpton welcomed the competitors and said the club was delighted to host such a prestigious tournament during the club's centenary year.

FULL SCORES: PAGE 65

CAPTION(S):

ALL SMILES... Bev Griffett (centre) receives the Birmingham Mail Wom an Golfer of the Year trophy from Halesowen Golf Club's lady captain Gillian Miller watched by runner-up Julie Brown. Photosales No: JR240906
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 25, 2006
Words:417
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