Humphreys gets dream start in top women’s golfing event

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Stoke-by-Nayland-trained 14-year-old Lily May Humphreys is set to realise a dream when she tees off with around 100 women professionals in Stoke’s WPGA International Challenge next week.

The 54-hole three-day competition, starting a week today (October 6), is the first of two international golf events to be staged at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club over the next month.

The week after the LET Access Series event (women’s second tier) will see ex-Ryder Cup captain Sir Nick Faldo in town for his junior showpiece event — the Nick Faldo World Series Grand Final — on October 11-13.

Both competitions offer free admission.

For Humphreys, a recently-joined member of nearby Newton Green Golf Club after moving to the area from Chelmsford where she is still a member of Channels, which will continue to be her home club, the WPGA International Challenge will be the latest step towards achieving a professional career.

Under the guidance of Stoke-by-Nayland’s head teaching professional Roly Hitchcock, who has coached her through the England Golf East Region squad for the last two years, Humphreys, has established herself as an England youth international and was third in this year’s European Young Masters.

After winning the English Girls’ Under-14s title in 2015, she became Under-16 national champion this year and her Liphook Scratch Trophy win enabled her to win a place to play in the LET Access Series event at Stoke, in which women from all over Europe will be competing for a 30,000 euro prize fund.

Along with Newton Green star Alice Barlow, 17, Humphreys will also be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Major winner Justin Rose when they take part in the prestigious Telegraph BMW Junior Championships Final at Quinta do Lago, Portugal, at the start of November.

The event includes past winners such as Rose (1997) and will be played on the remodelled North Course, which was named best European New Course in the year 2014.

Humphreys qualified for Portugal with a five-under-par score as one of her four, bogey-free rounds in the North of England Under-16 Mixed Strokeplay Championship at Pannels, Yorkshire.

England Girls’ County Champion of Champions winner Barlow qualified as a result of a four-under-par round in the England Girls’ Under-18 Championships.