Ellie Eyes Bright Lights

RISING Tees Valley golf star Ellie Robinson has set her sights on the bright lights of professional women's golf after helping Yorkshire become national champions.

RISING Tees Valley golf star Ellie Robinson has set her sights on the bright lights of professional women's golf after helping Yorkshire become national champions. The Middlesbrough Brass Castle player is in the final year of her A Levels at Stokesley Sixth Form College and is hoping to take up one of three offers she's received from top US colleges - probably Georgia State in Atlanta - next August.

Ultimately, Ellie, whose 22-year-old brother Tom is an assistant pro at Wynyard, wants to turn professional and play on either the European or American women's tour.

The one handicapper has enjoyed a brilliant summer of achievement after recovering from a bad wrist and arm injury that kept her out of the game for 18 months, graduating to the full Yorkshire ladies team and performing well at events both near and far.

The 18-year-old from Nunthorpe in Midllesbrough reached the quarter-finals of the Yorkshire ladies championship, the last 16 of the English ladies match play, the quarter-finals of the Northern ladies, at which she notched a course record 67 on her way to becoming the top qualifier for the match play stages, the last 32 of the English Under-18s and the last 16 of the British girls Under-18s.

Ellie has been a regular in the England girls' set-up for the past few years and has been coached by Wilton's Pat Smillie since first making the national birdie squad.

She is also coached by Steve Robinson, the Yorkshire and English ladies coach.

And it is with the white rose county that she has achieved her greatest success this season.

After doing so well at the county championship she was selected for the Northern Counties showdown at Arcot Hall in Northumberland in June. Yorkshire, who have won the event five years in a row, again romped to a fairly comfortable success with Ellie playing her part.

Yorkshire then went on to the national final at Long Ashton in Gloucestershire in September and won with a day to spare, Ellie securing victory in five of the six matches she played in.

Ellie said: "I'm really pleased with how the season has gone. I'm happy with how I played in the individual events and the things I've learned but the experiences as part of the Yorkshire team have been brilliant.

"Yorkshire have some of the best players in the country and it was great to be with someone like Jodi Ewart and get the chance to see how she plays and chat to her about my game.

"She is a real inspiration and I'd like to try and follow in her footsteps."

Fellow Tees Valley star Ewart, who made her debut in the Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team against America in May, is one of the country's top amateur women and has won the English match play title for the last two years.

The Catterick Golf Club member has just started her third year of a golf scholarship at the University of New Mexico in the US and teed off with a stunning win in the 54-hole Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Las Vegas.

Ellie added: "It would be great if I could try and emulate what Jodi has achieved. She's at a great US college, she's winning big tournaments, she played in the Curtis Cup and she's established herself as one of the best amateur women probably in the whole world."

Ellie is particularly pleased with her progress this year as she believes she's now getting over the severe wrist injury that threatened to end her career before it had really begun.

She added: "I was playing at Saltburn and managed to hit a tree root with my club. I knew something bad had happened but I played on through inexperience and made the injury worse. I ended up with a bad case of tendonitis. I had extensive physiotherapy for about six months and we thought it was all right again but the tendonitis returned when I started playing.

"In the end I was out for a full 18 months and I missed all of the 2006 season and it was a case of feeling my way back after that. But things have improved a lot this year and though I still have the physio I feel I'm getting back to my best again.

"I have to thank the English Women's Golf Association for sticking with me while I was out. Their support, along with the help I continued to receive from Pat and Steve, really made a big difference and I can't thank them enough."

Ellie only took up the game in her early teens after accompanying older brother Tom to tournaments around the country.

She added: "I just liked the look of the game. Seeing Tom do so well when he was a junior boy encouraged me and I was fortunate to get some top-class coaching at an early age.

"Now I just want to go on and achieve everything I can."

Ellie's final event for this year will be the annual challenge match between the England girls' and boys' squads at Woodhall Spa later this month.

The girls will be accompanied by EWGA national junior coach Pat Smillie.


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