Worcestershire golfer Lucy Walton has just played herself into the record books by winning her ladies’ county championship at the age of 12.
She’s possibly the youngest ever county champion in the country, pipping such players as Hertfordshire’s Ella Ofstedahl and Wiltshire’s Hannah Turland who won their respective titles in 2011 and 2008 at the age of 13.
Lucy won the Worcestershire & Herefordshire title on the 19th hole of the final at Redditch when she beat 14-year Ciara Kelly, the winner of last year’s Abraham Trophy for England’s most improved girl golfers. Lucy also currently holds the county girls’ title, which she won last July.
“She was absolutely thrilled to win,” said Lucy’s mum, Di. “Last year she got to the quarter finals and her aim this year was to get to the semis, but she didn’t think she had a chance of winning.”
Lucy (The Worcestershire) and Ciara (Hagley) are members of an England Golf Birdies training squad and both defeated past champions in the semi-finals, Lucy beating Karen Greenfield (Kidderminster), and Ciara beating Anna Rock (Kidderminster).
Lucy’s rise to the top has been rapid. She first had a taste of golf when she was seven and a family friend took her to a Tri-golf event. She took up the game seriously at 10 and now holds a handicap of six.
She’s from a sporty family: her father, Peter, coaches the England U18 rugby team and her mother, Di, and brother, Jack, are both hockey players. But Lucy is the only golfer – and has enjoyed great support from fellow lady members.
“Because we don’t play we’ve had to rely heavily on club members and without exception people have been amazing,” said Di. “The ladies have been fantastic with her.”
Now, Lucy’s target is to better last year’s performance in the English U13 girls’ championship when she came third.
Among the other teenagers who have won 2012 county championships are Gloucestershire’s Shelby Smart who has won her title three times in the last four years – and she’s still only 17! Inci Mehmet of Surrey is 15, while Sophie Keech of Dorset, Katrina Gani of Warwickshire, Amber Ratcliffe of Norfolk and Katie Warren of Wiltshire are all 16.