Yorkshire golf: Abigail Taylor’s handicap dips lower as she sets her sights high

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Talented Headingley member Abigail Taylor has come a long way since becoming the club’s youngest player to hold an official handicap.

It was four years ago that she began life as a competitor – aged just seven and with a handicap of 54.

Already this season, Abigail, now 11, has her first Yorkshire regional competition victory to her name – in Division One of an event at Knaresborough – where she amassed an impressive 41 points to win by five.

The triumph also saw a reduction in her handicap from 18 to 16.

Her ultimate ambition is to play on the LPGA tour like her idols, American Solheim Cup players Morgan Pressell and Lexi Thompson.

She is also keen to share her enthusiasm for the game and has become an ambassador for England Golf’s Girls Golf Rocks campaign.

Abigail hosted an assembly at her school, Adel St John the Baptist Church, using a PowerPoint presentation that she designed herself, and fielded questions from children and teachers.

As a results, several of her Adel St John the Baptist schoolmates are now taking golf lessons.

Her achievements last year included finishing 17th at the US Kids European Championships at Gullane in Scotland.

This earned her a place in the US Kids World Championships at Pinehurst – a renowned resort that has staged both men’s and women’s US Opens – where she finished 58th.

Back home she received the Jean Rudgard Memorial Award for the most improved girl in Yorkshire for 2016.

Her golfing journey began when she was given a set of plastic golf clubs by her father Nick when she was just three.

At the age of five Abigail joined Headingley, where both her father and grandfather are members.

Her early years of coaching were with the club’s professional Oliver Hunt.

In 2014 Abigail earned a place on the Yorkshire coaching programme and the following year entered the US Kids British Championship, and was placed fifth.

She is now coached by European Tour coach Mark Pinkett as well as being on the coaching programme run by the Yorkshire Ladies County Golf Association, who only last year celebrated Woodsome Hall’s Rochelle Morris earning the highest amateur accolade in this country when she won a place on Great Britain & Ireland’s Curtis Cup team.

Abigail has to balance her school work with a time-consuming golf schedule. She plays or practises golf, has coaching sessions, or goes to the gym on six days out of seven every week.

Abigail plays for Headingley’s junior team and already has her eyes on moving into the ladies’ team, which she hopes will provide a springboard to representing Yorkshire and England before going to college in America and playing college team golf.

“Last year was really cool and this year I’d like to get my handicap down to nine,” said Abigail.

Few of Headingley’s proud members would bet against her achieving her aim.

Howley Hall's James Appleyard, left, and Miles Foster - Yorkshire Challenge 2017 Supreme champions.

Yorkshire Challenge entries open on Wednesday with priority booking