A trip to Spain beckons for Darcie Smith, a 14-year-old golfer from Camber, who has earned a place in the champions final week of the 22nd Andalucia Junior European Open.
Darcie made the trip to Low Laithes Golf Club near Wakefield to play the competition’s final qualifying event in glorious weather on October 31 and gained one of the last three places available. The finals week takes place from November 30 until December 5 on the Costa del Sol. The first four rounds will be played at Alcaidesa Links and Alcaidesa Heathland Courses. Those who make the cut will play the final round at the superb Finca Cortesin Course, which was the venue for the Volvo World Matchplay in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Reaching the final of this prestigious competition, which in the past has seen the likes of Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Bronte Law grace its entrants, will bring to an end what has been a very successful season for this fledgling golfer.
At the end of September, Darcie made the long trip to Close House Golf Club, near Newcastle, to play in the national final of the Lee Westwood Golf Tour. She had played in five regional events throughout the summer and qualified for the second year in a row. At the final, which took place the day after Team Europe’s successful Ryder Cup, she had a chance of success in both the girls gross competition and the Under 14’s gross and nett competitions. In glorious late September weather, the girls’ competition was an unbelievably close run affair with the first five girls all shooting 81. On count back, and after 3-putting on the 18th this pushed Darcie into 4th place gross and 3rd nett. A prize did await, though, when she was announced as the overall runner up in the Under 14s.
The day was finished off in perfect style when all the prizes were presented by a very tired looking Lee Westwood, who had driven from Gleneagles after enjoying the celebrations with his Ryder Cup team mates. Darcie, a member of Chart Hills Golf Club and a cadet member of Rye Golf Club made her first steps towards national recognition when she successfully trialled out for England Golf at Hever Castle in September. Along with five other girls from the Kent and Sussex area she will make up the England Golf South East Region Under 16’s squad for 2014-15. All of this came in a year where county recognition had come her way.
She had already been selected for the Kent Ladies 2nd team on three occasions and maintained a 100 per cent winning record in her singles matches. She was also part of the Kent Ladies Golf Association Junior Team at Junior County Week which this year was held at Goodwood Golf Club. On an individual level Darcie came runner up in the Ladies Championship at Chart Hills, losing out to ex-professional Sandy Catford over the last few holes.
Photo: Darren Smith