Golf shorts: Jess Hall shining brightly at Barnard Castle

RAPIDLY improving teenage golfer Jessica Hall has continued her rise to prominence after claiming a status as a category one golfer.

Hall, dreaming of following in the footsteps of North Yorkshire's Solheim Cup hero Jodi Ewart on the professional scene, continues to move up the ranks in the golfing world.

The Barnard Castle School pupil, from Witton-le-Wear, has seen her handicap reduced from nine to five during a special 2013, which has seen her selected as one of eight girls for England Golf North winter coaching at Matfen Hall.

At the junior end of the game Hall’s successes came in the England Under-15s championship, held at Tavistock in Devon, where she was in the top 20.

Despite her young age, she was part of the Durham County Under-18 girls’ team against Yorkshire, Northumberland and Lancashire. The team won all of their matches for the first time ever, with Hall winning against both Yorkshire and Northumberland and halving against Lancashire.

She was also part of the Durham County Schools’ team in the North of England Championships, whilst she also played for the Barnard Castle School team that narrowly lost the County Team Championship.

And at senior level, Hall finished top ten in the National Ladies Grand Medal Final at Northampton after finishing fourth in the Northern Regional Finals and she qualified for the knock out stages of the Durham Ladies County Championships. In the Bishop Auckland Ladies’ Club Championship, Hall missed out on being Ladies champion by one shot, playing the last 30 holes in three over par.

Hall is determined to develop her talent further and her school, Barnard Castle, allow her to go to Barnard Castle Golf Club regularly. She also benefits from working with the school’s strength and conditioning coach, Andy Woodward.

HALL is among a clutch of North-East youngsters who England performance chiefs are challenging to fulfil the potential which has earned them call-ups.

This column revealed last month how 16 talented youngsters from the region had been selected for England Golf’s North Under-16 regional coaching squad.

They include Hexham’s Matty Lamb, who won the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters, and Durham’s Hall, who qualified for last year’s England Grand Medal Final.

This is the first rung on the ladder of England Golf’s national coaching structure and the squads will train over the winter months with a mix of group coaching, matches and one-to-one sessions with their coaches.

The boys will work with Kendal McWade while the girls will be coached by JJ Vallely. Their strength and conditioning coach is Teleri Hamilton.

“We aim to give our talented young players the best golf development experience available,” said Nigel Edwards, England Golf’s Performance Director.

“In return, we expect the players to commit themselves to a programme of golf coaching and physical training that will set them up for life.”

There are boys and girls Under-16s training squads in a total of ten regions.

The girls are made up of Briony Bayles (Bishop Auckland), Aimee Goodlad (Castle Eden), Jessica Hall (Bishop Auckland), Kitana Hollins (Ramside), Niamh Lendrum (Parklands), Natasha Slater (Furness), Alexandra Stevenson (Beamish Park) and Caitlin Whitehead (Kendal) And the boys sessions will include Jack Ainscough (Castle Eden), Benjamin Bailey (Wynyard), Matty Lamb (Hexham), Ryan Lamb (Boldon), William Skipp (Eaglescliffe), Nicholas Sowerby (Appleby), Cameron Wallace (Seaton Carew) and James Wilson (Close House).

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