Kim McKenna, champion golfer and mother, is among the favourites for this morning’s Grand Final of The Journal Ladies’ Trophy on the Lee Westwood Filly Course at Close House.
The 45-year-old, a former quarter-finalist in the British Women’s Amateur Championship, is the wife of John McKenna, club professional at Tynemouth, and the sister-in-law of Steve McKenna, pro at City of Newcastle and his brother’s fellow county coach.
Kim won the Tynemouth ladies’ championship for the 22nd time this year, beating her niece Rebecca Ferguson in the semi-finals.
Her 16-year-old daughter, Megan, and son Freddie, eight, are also members of Tynemouth and McKenna said: “Being a mum means golf often has to take a back seat. My handicap was plus one when I was a teenager, but I am playing off four these days.”
The ex-England girls international, who helps out her husband in the pro’s shop, was also a teenager when she won the Northumberland Under-21 Championship at Blyth. That was a startling victory. It was in the mid-1980s, when the young men and women of her county slugged it out toe to toe in a mixed tournament.
Making her debut in the Grand Final, McKenna said: “I have entered around a dozen times and I have made it through the JLT club qualifiers to the Northumberland final on six occasions.”
Until speaking to The Journal yesterday, McKenna was unaware today’s first prize is an overnight golf stay at Close House Hotel plus dinner in the plush Argent D’Or restaurant.
She said “I am glad my handicap is higher now than when I was younger. It is a fantastic prize but a tough tournament to win.”
McKenna is in the 9.32am pairing with Hetton-le-Hill’s Susan Dinning, who won the trophy at Close House in 2010.
Tyneside’s Vicki Thompson won the Durham final at George Washington only two years after taking up golf.
Hexham staged the Northumberland final, won by Poddy Jennings, from Gosforth Park Ladies, who thanked caddy Brenda Walton for helping to conquer her nerves.
09:08 Vicky Thompson (Tyneside), Poddy Jennings (Gosforth Park Ladies)
09:16 Samantha Fletcher (Gosforth), Janet Collingwood (Eaglescliffe & District)
09:24 Jacqueline Ann Heaton (Blackwell Grange), Pat Addy (Arcot Hall)
09:32 Susan Dinning (Hetton-le-Hill), Kim McKenna (Tynemouth)
09:40 Judith Moore (City of Newcastle), Lynn Stearman (Ravensworth)
09:48 Margery Greatbatch (Whickham), Helen Cooper (Blyth)