Lizzie and dad are Ping Family Champions!
Golf mad 10-year-old Lizzie Wilson and her dad, Craig, are the new PING Family Fourball Betterball champions. The Nottinghamshire pair teamed up to score 45 points over the Thonock Park course at PING’s Gainsborough Golf Club and took the title by the slender margin of one point.
“I played best!” laughed Lizzie, who has cut her handicap by 11 shots this season and now plays off 24. “I’ve had great fun playing with my dad and our playing partners were very nice. I’ve made some new friends and it’s been a great experience." Craig added: “It’s been a fantastic day.” They took on the challenge of related pairs from across the country, who flock to play in this popular competition run by England Golf.
Last year Craig and his wife, Claire, took part for the first time and this year they decided to include Lizzie, who has been playing since she was eight. “My wife and I played last year and it was a fantastically organised day. This year we thought that Lizzie could play and I got lucky she was paired with me! It’s been a great day,” said Craig, a 13-handicapper. Claire, who plays off 12, played with another member from their club, Norwood Park Golf Centre, and has already staked a claim to be Lizzie’s partner in 2019!
Lizzie has been encouraged by the junior development programme at Norwood Park; inspired by attending the Women’s British Open; and enthused by receiving a bag of junior clubs through the Bags4Birdies initiative run by PING and UPS. Every birdie scored in Majors in one year by Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen saw a bag of clubs given to a new young player. “That was very exciting for her and now Lizzie is doing better than the rest of the family!” said Craig. She’s won a county U18 handicap competition and she’s had an outing with the Nottinghamshire second team – and her next big date is on Tuesday when she tees up in the PING women’s fourball betterball Grand Final with another partner. Lizzie sums up why she enjoys golf: “I love how you get to make new friends. But basically I just love playing the shots. I just love it!”
And it won’t be long before the Wilsons are joined by their other daughter. Holly, seven, has also taken up golf and was thrilled when the family spectated at the Women’s British Open and she got Georgia Hall’s signed ball after the third round. “Since then she just wants to play golf,” said Craig. “I think I’m going to be a caddie or a taxi service!”
The runners-up were Madeleine and Ian Smith from Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, who scored 44 points, pipping Linda and Peter Spencer of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, on countback. Third place, again on countback, went to Alison and Robert Horak of Ullesthorpe Court, Leicestershire, on 43 points, ahead of Jane and Steve Ackling of Wollaton Park, Nottinghamshire. Debra and Glenn Wright of Millfield, Lincolnshire, took sixth prize on 42 points, on countback from two other pairs.
Images copyright Leaderboard Photography