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Lucy Walton – golf’s youngest county champion?

The England Golf website reports the story of rising star Lucy Walton, who may have just claimed her place in the record books.

After winning the Worcestershire and Herefordshire county title in Redditch, Lucy has edged out recent victors to become the youngest champion in recent memory, if not the youngest of all time.

She’s only been playing for five years, and is now aged 12 – with a handicap of just six.

Recent county championships have been claimed by 13-year-olds – including Wiltshire’s Hannah Turland in 2008 and Hertfordshire’s Ella Ofstedahl in 2011.

And Walton’s opponent in the final of this year’s event was not much older, as she defeated 14-year-old Ciara Kelly on the 19th hole.

Both already held titles going into the event – Kelly was named as last year’s recipient of the Abraham Trophy for England’s most improved girl golfers, while Walton won the girls’ title for her county in July.

Her mother, Di, reveals that her daughter’s rise to stardom has been thanks to the support of her fellow club members.

Although the Waltons are a sporty family, their interests lie mainly in rugby and hockey – meaning Lucy needed plenty of help from outside of the family to set her on her path to success.

“Without exception, people have been amazing. The ladies [at the club] have been fantastic with her,” says Di.

The wave of youngsters dominating county championships nationwide doesn’t end there, as the website points out Gloucestershire’s 17-year-old Shelby Smart, who has claimed her county title three times in her last four attempts.

With all this talent among the nation’s teenagers, the future of the sport could be bright for the British women’s game.

For Lucy, it’s one tournament at a time – and what could be a last stab at the under-13s national championship, where she came third in 2011.

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