Sheffield girl beats all the boys in top junior golf tournament

Libby Kilbride after winning the Moortown Junior Masters
Libby Kilbride after winning the Moortown Junior Masters
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The first time Libby Kilbride took a swing with a golf club was at her local driving range at Renishaw Park.

At just three years of age, she took aim, rallying all her focus, but only managed to roll the ball off the tee about four yards.

However as the ball trickled towards the feet of Libby’s father, Michael, a keen golfer, he saw potential in his determined daughter and encouraged the disheartened youngster to try again.

After several failed attempts suddenly, whack! And in that wild accurate moment of solid contact between club and ball, Michael saw a budding talent. His child had the potential to be nurtured into something special.

“Libby loved anything linked with sport from as soon as she could walk and I thought it would be fun for her to come up to the driving range,” Michael says nine years on, with Libby now 12 years old.

“She definitely didn’t find it easy at first and found it tricky hitting the ball but she had the determination right from the start and loved the game.”

Libby persevered and started having junior group golf lessons at Renishaw, now she is coached by Lee Owen of Moorview Driving Range who is helping to develop and improve all areas of her game.

AndYorkshire county player Libby has had an impressive time of late having lifted the Moortown Junior Master title with an excellent gross 78, three over par, whilst being the only girl in the field.

Followed recently with a second place in the American Gold Junior Championships girls U16 category, last week in Gainsborough, featured on Sky Sports.

“It was great to lift the title and it was made all the more sweeter being the only girl – the pressure was on but the competition against the boys made me raise my game,” explained Libby who also recently competed in England Golf’s Abraham Trophy for the country’s most improving young girl players.

“My best hole was the 18th where I got a birdie and I was very pleased with my performance on the day.

“I have to be honest, I was disappointed to come second in the next tournament but you can’t win them all and I have to learn from my mistakes.

“It just wasn’t my day but I am still completely focused about the future and am now just looking to keep improving my game.”

Libby, a pupil at All Saints Catholic High school in Sheffield, has high hopes for the future, with aspirations of an Under-16 England call up shortly and pursuing a career on the tour circuit.

And the talented starlet is prepared to put in the hard work as she currently trains six times a week, alternating between the driving range and course and can be seen perfecting her skills for up to five hours at a time.

“I was too young for the England squad last year but they gave me very positive feedback and I have definitely improved,” said Libby, who has a handicap of five.

“I’m aiming to get on the professional circuit as soon as I can and I look up to female players Lydia Ko and Charlie Hull because they are breaking through as youngsters now.

“If I want to push myself I may have to think about training in America in the future but all that excitement is still to come so I just need to focus and take one swing at a time right now.”