THE Daily Telegraph Junior Championship is one of the biggest events in the sport nationally and this year enjoys a homespun North East backdrop through the success of the 16-year-old Whitley Bay girls and ladies champion Kelly McNulty.
Justin Rose is a former winner of the boys’ title and the choice of Close House to host this year’s final is an impressive testament to the club’s ranking in UK golf.
These are the previous venues, going back over a quarter of a century to the birth of the championship in 1985: The Belfry, Penina, San Lorenzo, Sea Island, Sun City, Dubai Creek and the Abu Dhabi club.
McNulty (left) is through to the 2012 finals at Close House on October 23-25 after signing for a two-under 72 in the Telegraph qualifier at her home club. Also a member of the Tynemouth club, McNulty is in the sixth form at Whitley Bay High.
A regular in the Northumberland ladies’s team, she is the first member of her family to play golf.
When she was 11, parents Lee and Elaine took her to her first go at the sport at a time when the Northern Rock Junior Festival and Pro-Am was still in full swing at Matfen Hall.
She said: “I swung a club for the first time at one of the free coaching sessions for beginners and I was hooked from then on.
“Paul Fiddes at Matfen took that first coaching session I ever had.
“I cannot remember now what he said to me but it must have been OK because I have been playing ever since.
“It is a pity that festival stopped and it would be great if somebody started them up again.”