THIS year has been a momentous one for 16-year-old golfing sensation Sophie Keech.
In a year that has seen her establish herself on the girls and ladies’ amateur circuit, the Lyme Regis resident’s season came to a fitting climax at The Lough Erne Resort, Northern Ireland as she won the Faldo Series Europe Under-16 girls’ final.
After three rounds on the challenging Faldo designed tournament course, and in sometimes very windy conditions, Keech finished eight shots clear of her nearest challenger, Roos Haarman of the Netherlands, to secure the title.
The Lyme Regis golfer qualified for the final along with 83 other amateur golfers representing 19 countries.
The field included boys and girls under the age of 21, and overall Keech finished a brilliant 10th.
As a finale to the tournament, Keech, along with the three other category winners, teamed up to play against Sir Nick Faldo in a two-hole-one-club competition.
The match was halved with Faldo admitting it was the first he had not won the event.
Keech will now join tournament winner Jack Singh-Brar (Brockenhurst), under-21 girls’ champion Rochelle Morris (Huddersfield) and under-21 boys’ champion Robert Busher (Salisbury) at the Faldo Series World Final at Mission Hills, China in March 2013.
It will be a busy time for the youngster as she will also be defending her World Schools Girls’ Golf Championship in Thailand the same month – a title she won in South Africa two years ago representing Millfield School.
This will be quite a start to 2013 for the sixth-form student who has recently succeeded in getting her handicap below scratch.
Coach Karen Nicholls said: “Myself and all the staff at Millfield are absolutely thrilled with the result and we look forward with much excitement to the challenges that lie ahead for Sophie.”