County Champions 2024 – Harry Cox of Welwyn Garden City & Anna Molloy of Sandy Lodge

Harry Cox successfully defends his Men's County Championship title and Anna Molloy goes one better than 2023 and wins the Women's Championship crown

Our flagship events took place last week (Thu 30 May to Sun 2 June) with the playing of our County Championship events with both the Men’s & the Women’s events being played once again simultaneously at the same venue.

The venue this year was Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, as an extension of their Centenary celebrations from 2023. Somewhat surprisingly this was the first time in the club’s history that these events had been played on the course. The club is of course most famous for being the home club of Sir Nick Faldo, himself a past winner of the Men’s County Championship in 1975, before adding 6 major championship wins to his vast trophy cabinet.

The event started on Thursday with the Womens Strokeplay qualifying, where disappointingly only 16 competitors took part. This resulted in a change in terms of competition where only the top 8 from the strokeplay would qualify through to the KO rounds, now starting with the QF round on the Saturday afternoon. A rather cold and dull day of weather greeted the competitors with some occasional showers throughout the day.

Unlike the later Men’s event, there are several trophies played for as part of the strokeplay qualifying, Scratch Aggregate Cup for best 36 holes gross score, the Anne Pyke Trophy for the best 36 holes nett score and the Pam Lane Salver for the best Team score using best 2 gross scores from 2 or 3 players from the same club from each round. Best gross was won by former Champion Kelly Cooke, formerly of WGC but now playing out of Panshanger, with 149 +5 pipping Zainab Jeppe of Mill Green on an afternoon countback. Zainab did however win the best nett comfortably with an excellent score of 141 -3. The Team competition was won by Essendon, represented by Riya Chandaria, Janine Cicchirillo & Sarah Marley, by 4 shots from Bishops Stortford. Essendon will now by virtue of their win proceed to represent Herts in the England Golf Women’s Champion Club Final event, played at Hessle GC, Yorkshire in late August. The qualifying score fell at +19 with no sudden death play off required to determine the top 8 players.

The Men’s Strokeplay qualifying was on the Friday and was a full field of 66 competitors, bar one no-show on the day. Sadly, the weather on the day was thoroughly miserable. Cold, wet and with a strong north/north-westerly wind making conditions testing to say the least. Thankfully the players accepted the challenge and mostly played in good spirits.

Defending Champion 16 year old Harry Cox of the host club always looked the man (young adult..?!) to beat and laid a marker down as such by claiming the medalist honours with the best 36 hole gross score of 137 -3, 4 shots clear of his nearest challenger, Tom Ryan of Knebworth and the always reliable Niall Johnston of Letchworth, both on 141 +1.

The qualifying mark of the top 16 places qualifying through to the weekend KO rounds fell on 148 +8, with 1 spot remaining and 5 players tied on the score, requiring a sudden death play off to determine our last qualifier who would take on the task of playing our #1 seed the following morning. The sudden death play off eventually lasted two holes, both played over the closing par 3 18th hole, with Oscar Freeman of West Herts winning out with a par on both occasions.

The weather conditions for the Saturday improved, but not by much as it was still unseasonably cold and windy, but at least the rain had moved through. The Round of 16 in the Men’s event saw wins for several previous champions, namely the aforementioned Harry Cox who defeated our playoff winner Oscar 5&4, 2018 winner Joss Gosling who defeated Mens 1st Team Captain Phil Dormer 3&2 and 2016 winner Tony Wilkins who defeated young Finlay Rennie 3&2. Niall Johnston edged out home player Jack McGregor on the last hole, but the host club did see both Louie Bloxham and the long hitting David Allmand-Smith through to the QF round with victories.

The Womens event recommenced on the Saturday afternoon and saw relatively one sided affairs across the board, with comfortable victories for Kelly Cooke, Zainab Jeppe and Anna Molloy, and surprisingly in the match between former champions Emmanuelle Hewson and fresh off her win at the recent English  Senior Amateur Championship, Jackie Foster, with Emmanuelle coming out on top on this occasion.

The Mens QF’s saw tighter affairs, although no matches went to the 18th hole, with wins for the irrepressible Harry Cox & Louie Bloxham, setting up a popular all host club semi final match up in the top half and Tony Wilkins and Joss Gosling in the bottom half.

Finally, summer seemed to arrive for our last day on the Sunday and the players were greeted in bright sunshine, little to no wind and eventually as the day progressed warm temperatures.

The Womens SF matches saw a top half of two former Champions take each other on with Kelly Cooke against Emmanuelle Hewson and in the bottom half two former runners-up taking each other on with Zainab Jeppe against Anna Molloy. Both matches saw good play and remained tight but good short games and putting were key in the victories for Emmanuelle and Anna to set up a final match in the afternoon.

The Mens SF matches were both played in great spirit between friends. Harry Cox continued his sparking form and defeated his good pal Louie on the 16th green, while in the other SF match Tony Wilkins played some terrific golf was several under par when defeating Joss on the 14th green.

Both finals were followed by strong support, especially the Mens final with the added attraction of the home player on display.

In the Womens Final Anna took an early lead and would be 2 up on Emmanuelle by the turn. She would stretch this to an unassailable 4 up by the 15th tee and closed the game out with a par 4 on the 15th to take the Womens title and go one better than her runners up position last year at Moor Park.

In the Mens Final, Harry continued to be generally unflappable and led over Tony by 2 up at the turn with 2 birdies at the 3rd and 6th and all the rest pars. Tony had the opportunity to cut the deficit at the 8th with a birdie putt on the short par 4 8th after Harry made a rare error to be out of position, but Tony couldn’t make it count and the hole was halved in par. It felt like a missed opportunity and became clearer when on the 10th Harry holed from outside Tony to make it 3up, a lead that Harry would hold until the 16th green, where he closed the match out to retain the Mens title. Harry is the first player to retain the Mens Championship since Ben Connelly of Porters Park some 20 years ago.

The prizegiving was held outside on the putting green with winners, almost winners, well-wishers, supporters and officials all enjoying a well-deserved drink or two.

Our thanks go to Welwyn Garden City Golf Club for all their efforts in hosting the event. The competitors were pretty much universally in praise of both the well-conditioned course and the welcome they received from all concerned. We promise not to leave it another 101 years before we return.

The 2025 Championships will be held at Berkhamsted Golf Club, with the exact dates still be advised.

Congratulations to both Harry & Anna on their victories.  


Andy Collie, Welwyn Garden City Club Captain 2024 gives Hertfordshire County Championship’s welcome speech.

Hertfordshire County President Robin Colbourne gives Thankyou speech.

Anna Molloy of Sandy Lodge receiving Women’s County Championship and speech.

Harry Cox of Welwyn Garden City receiving Men’s County Championship and speech.

Emmanuelle Hewson of Mid Herts receiving Women’s County Championship Runner Up Prize.

Tony Wilkins of Harpenden Common receiving Men’s County Championship Runner Up Prize.

Mens County Championship Scoring

Womens County Championship Scoring

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Harry Cox successfully defends his Men's County Championship title and Anna Molloy goes one better than 2023 and wins the Women's Championship crown