Monday, August 19, 2019

DREAM COME TRUE FOR YOUNG EDINBURGH GOLFER - CHOSEN FOR JUNIOR SOLHEIM CUP

Golfing prodigy Hannah Darling meets First Minister ahead of Solheim appearance
  
 

                         Caption: Hannah Darling and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Teenager Hannah Darling will be the sole Scot representing Team Europe at the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup. Hannah has been chosen as a wildcard for the all-female event.
 
The young golfer, who at the age of 16 is currently ranked 116th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was invited to meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House today  (August 19) ahead of the competition, which takes place on September 10 and 11 at Gleneagles Hotel's King’s Course.
 
Hannah’s place on the team comes after a four-year campaign she headed via a WhatsApp group named #Project19, made up of six aspiring young female golfers aiming for a coveted spot in the competition.
 
With six Scottish titles to date, Darling is recognised as one of Scotland’s most talented young golfers – one who has realistic ambitions of becoming “the best female golfer in the world.”
 
Aged 13, the Edinburgh golfer – who plays at Broomieknowe Golf Club in Bonnyrigg, claimed her first national title and became the youngest-ever winner of the Scottish Girls’ Amateur Championship. Last year she won the inaugural R and A Girls’ U16 Open Championship and successfully defended the Scottish Girls’ Amateur Championship she won in 2017.
 
In December 2018 she was picked for the Great Britain and Ireland women’s squad for the first time at the age of just 15.
 
She was supported in her attempts to qualify for the PING Junior Solheim Cup by both Scottish Golf and the Scottish Government through the Solheim Cup Golf Development Programme, which facilitated a support fund to allow aspiring Scottish golfers to play in qualifying events throughout Europe.
 
Speaking after the announcement, Hannah said: “This is pretty much all I’ve been working towards for the past three or four years - I can’t really put into words what it means to me. The experience I will gain from it will be invaluable, coming so early in my career.
 
“This is the pinnacle of women’s amateur golf. It is the biggest tournament, being played by the top players and the fact it is being played here, at Gleneagles, just makes it even more special. I have had incredible support over the past few years and learned so much from our experience at the Solheim Cup in 2017.
 
“Now, to be a part of this competition, which will be the biggest single sporting event in Scotland this year, is a dream come true. I have had so much support to reach this stage, from my parents and family, from my coach, Ian Muir and my club, from the Scottish Government and Scottish Golf and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunities they have given me. Now I am looking forward to competing next month.”
 
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says, “There has been an increasing level of interest in women’s sport recently and more and more girls are seeing what is possible to achieve.  To have a Scottish player in the European PING Junior Solheim Cup can encourage other girls to take up golf.    
 
“Hannah has done exceptionally well to make the team and I look forward to her doing Scotland proud in the competition.”
 
Entry to the PING Junior Solheim Cup is free. For more information visit www.solheimcup2019.com 
  
 
  
BACKGROUND
    
Hannah has had ambitions of playing in the Junior Solheim Cup since she was 12 years of age. In 2015, when it was announced that Scotland was bidding to host the tournament, she and five other young female golfers embarked on what became known as ‘Project 19.’
The group initially set up a WhatsApp group to help motivate each other, help each other improve their amateur ranking, with the aim of earning their places and competing at the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.
Their game has improved significantly during that time and with the support of the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Golf and the Ladies European Tour, the girls were able to attend the 2017 Solheim Cup at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in Iowa.
 
The group, comprising of Hannah Darling (Broomieknowe), Rachel Foster (Turnberry), Eilidh Henderson (Kirkcaldy), Evanna Hynd (Balbirnie Park), Carmen Griffiths (Aboyne) and Anna McKay (Crail Golfing Society), all played in the star-studded Women’s British Open Pro-Am at Kingsbarns Golf Links in August 2018 and have enjoyed further, first hand, experience of the senior game through Project 19.
 
All six are Scottish Golf Academy players and all but one has come through the ClubGolf national junior programme for promising young players, which is run by Scottish Golf.
 

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