Five teenagers have been promoted into the English Women’s Golf Association’s top-ranking Performance Squad.
They are: English champion Hannah Barwood, 18 of Gloucestershire; Holly Clyburn, 17, of Lincolnshire; Rachel Connor, 18, of Lancashire; Alex Peters, 15, of Nottinghamshire; and Kelly Tidy, 16, of Lancashire.
All five helped England win the 2008 girls’ home internationals while Hannah Barwood, Rachel Connor, Alex Peters and Kelly Tidy combined to win the silver medal at the girls’ European team championship. Hannah and Rachel both made their debut in this year’s women’s home international team.
They have all progressed from the U18 Squad and join two established internationals: Rachel Jennings, 20, from Izaak Walton, Staffordshire; and Kerry Smith, 36, from Waterlooville, Hampshire.
The teenagers move up as three established members of the England team make preparations to go to Tour School in January. They are Liz Bennett (Brokenhurst Manor), Naomi Edwards (Ganton) and Florentyna Parker (Royal Birkdale).
Linda Bayman, EWGA’s performance director, commented: “It is time to move to the next generation. Three members of the Performance Squad will still be eligible to play in the Girls’ International team in 2009 but our programme recognises hard work and good performance rather than chronological age.”
She added: “The England ladies’ team will also be strengthened when the US college students return in May. This gives plenty of options for team selection.” Among the students in America are English strokeplay champion and Curtis Cup player Jodi Ewart (Catterick).
The Performance Squad players:
Hannah Barwood (Knowle) won the 2008 English championship at the age of 17. She is the winner of EWGA’s girls’ order of merit, the Welsh U21 open strokeplay champion and the girls’ title in the Faldo Series.
Holly Clyburn (Woodhall Spa) has also been on international duty for England’s schoolgirls, helping them to wins over Wales and Scotland. She is the Lincolnshire ladies’ champion.
Rachel Connor (Manchester) won the Formby Leveret – her second success in a top ladies’ scratch event – and was a quarter-finalist in the English championship.
Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton) won the 2008 French lady junior championship and her appearances for England included playing in the World Amateur Team Championship. She was a reserve for the Curtis Cup.
Alex Peters (Notts’ Ladies) is the 2008 winner of the Fairhaven Trophy, the North of England girls’ U16 title, the Nottinghamshire ladies’ and girls’ county championships, and she was runner-up in the Daily Telegraph junior championship.
Kerry Smith (Waterlooville) is an England and GB&I international who has played in the Curtis Cup and been English champion. This season she won the Porters Park Cup and tied for the Critchley Salver; both prestigious scratch events.
Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale) represented Europe in the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup. She was the runner-up in the British girls’ championship, for the second year in a row, and was fifth in the European Young Masters. She is the Lancashire ladies’ champion.