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Teenage golf star from Leeds on the look out for sponsors


golf girlBy Caroline Grandjean

A 14-year-old golfing prodigy is appealing for help to raise funds so she can compete in international competitions.

Jennifer Conlon, who trains at the PGA Academy at Oulton Hall in Rothwell, won the South Africa Golf Junior Challenge last year.

She now wants to go to America in July for the American Teen World Championships.

Jennifer, who attends Cockburn School, began playing at Middleton Park Golf Course four years ago.

Her dad Craig Conlon, 44, who works as a bus driver, said funding for junior golfers was very limited and finance was always a struggle. He has had to raise £6,000 by himself with local raffles and cake stalls.

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He said: “We are trying to get local sponsors to cover golf fees, travels and equipment.”

A few weeks ago, he launched a fundraising page on social media, ‘go fund me’ where people can make donations – and £335 has been contributed so far.

He said: “We are getting there steadily, but we are still only half way to the £10,000 target at the moment. It’s still quite a long way to go.”

Jennifer first played in the Yorkshire qualifier for the Wee Wonders British Championships in 2013, which she won. She played the finals at St Andrews in Scotland, and finished in the girls top 20.

Phillip Akers, 26, the junior development manager at South Leeds Golf Club, where she is a member said she has a bright future.

He said: “She stepped on the range and took a driver, smashed it 200 yards.

“I am very proud of her, she has just started getting into that group of hot bed talent.”

Jennifer’s handicap is 18, but she is aiming for 12 by the end of the year.  She said: “Within two years, Phil managed to drop my handicap from 36 to 18.

“I’m really looking forward to the European Championship coming up in Scotland. I am confident as I’ve learnt new shots.”

Competitions in Italy and South Africa are also on the agenda.

Hoping to turn professional, Jennifer is planning to join Myerscough College, a sports college specialising in golf in Preston, when she finishes school.

She said: “It’s quite hard balancing school and training but if you love golf as much as me, you make time for it!

“The support from my friends is amazing. When I went to South Africa last year, they were all proud of me. I got lovely support messages saying well done.”

Her golf hero is Charley Hull, an inspiring example of successful golfer.

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