THOSE of us who have encountered our fair share of divas in sport will take heart from a coach’s assessment of Alex Stevenson, one of the brightest prospects on the girls’ golf scene.
Stevenson, 11, has closed out the season on a double high.
Already gaining a reputation for a sound attitude, she is the youngest player picked for the North East England Birdie Squad, which provides national standard coaching for the region’s under-16s.
A member of the Beamish Park club, she was also one of two girls to make it through to the final of a new national series, The Tiger Cub Tour for under-12s, for which she will again be eligible next season. Having finished fourth in the tour rankings – a mixture of boys and girls – Stevenson was joined for the final at the Nottinghamshire club Newark by a Sussex girl,Katie Field and 34 boys.
Field was overwhelmed in the final, finishing next to bottom with scores of 124 and 131.
Stevenson (pictured right) lipped out for what would have been holes in one during each round and finished third – signing for an 83 and an 81.
That left her seven shots adrift of second place, but there was no disgrace in that bearing in mind it was occupied by the new Wee Wonders champion Warwickshire’s Josh Davenport.
The 5ft 3in Stevenson, from South Moor, a pupil at Tanfield Secondary Modern School, is coached by Brian Ridley from the Beamish Park Hotel and Golf Centre.
He shares a widely held view that, while Stevenson may be talented, precocious she definitely is not. Ridley said: “Alex invariably finds herself up against players who are older than herself and invariable she copes well. She continues to make great progress.
“It would be easy for her to get carried away but she has her feet planted firmly on the ground.
“Although she is still very young, she is mature for her age.
“Alex can hit the ball comfortably and accurately 200 yards off the tee and perhaps we might have expected her handicap to do even better than drop from 15 to 11 over the course of the season.
“She is still a bit naive on and around the greens – Alex knows that and accepts it – and our priority this winter is to work on her short game.”
Early in the year, when still ten years old, Stevenson reached the matchplay stages of the Durham County Ladies Championship.
Since then she has finished third in the Beamish Park Ladies’ Club Championship behind two 16-year-olds, winner Katie Milne and runner-up Natasha Martin.
The Durham County Juniors’ Clement Trophy – for players aged under 21 – brought Stevenson second place.
The winner of the first Tiger Cub Tour final, Sheffield’s Barclay Brown, also triumphed in the inaugural tour event, the North of England qualifier at South Moor Golf Club in early June.