Libby Kilbride and Christina Rumbelow eager to keep top trophy in Yorkshire’s grip

Libby Kilbride, left, and Christina Rumbelow, who will be vying for the Abraham Trophy on Sunday.
Libby Kilbride, left, and Christina Rumbelow, who will be vying for the Abraham Trophy on Sunday.
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Woodsome Hall’s Charlotte Eastwood won the Abraham Trophy last year, a competition for the title of England Golf’s most improved golf player.

On Sunday, Renishaw Park’s Libby Kilbride and Christina Rumbelow, of Easingwold, both 12, will be doing their utmost to ensure the crown remains in White Rose hands.

Libby, a pupil at All Saints Catholic High school in Sheffield, claimed her place in the final at Royal Cromer in Norfolk by winning one of the eight area qualifying events while Christina, who attends Graham School, Scarborough, was one of the 15 next best.

Libby’s handicap tumbled from 27 to 8 during the qualifying period and is now 6.9. She recently won the inaugural Ladies 18-hole Yorkshire Championship, with a handicap limit of 10 and below, at Ganton.

Christina reduced hers from 36 to 18.7 and it has dipped even lower since, to 15.7.

When did they start playing?

LK: First picked up a golf club at around the age of four. Her father used to take her with him to the driving range on and off for the next three or four years. When she was eight she started having junior group golf lessons at Renishaw and her interest began to develop.

CR: She began attending Saturday morning group junior sessions with Simon Deller at North Cliff GC, Scarborough, and discovered a love for the game (winning Player of the Year in her first year).

How often do they practise, and what area of their game do they focus on the most?

LK: Practises virtually every day, all year round, come sun, rain, wind and snow, be it on the course, at the driving range or even working on putting skills in the house. Practises all areas of her game during each practice session.

CR: Practises at least four times a week for a couple of hours each time. Concentrates on her short game more than anything. Also practises her putting in the dining room before school a few times a week.

Practice makes perfect: watch Christina Rumbelow honing her short-game skills HERE.

Who is their golf coach?

LK: Is coached by Lee Owen of Moonview Driving Range, at the driving range but also on the course, developing and improving all areas of her game.

CR: Was accepted onto Alastair Grindlay’s Scholarship programme at Easingwold GC last year and receives coaching from Grindlay and assistant professional Nick Marchant. Also receives coaching from Lysa Jones (The Oaks GC) with the Yorkshire Girls and has recently attended coaching sessions with Michael Brooks at Malton & Norton GC for York Union Girls. She spent a couple of years being coached by Matthew Connor (Snainton Golf Centre).

Do they watch golf on TV and, if so, do they have any favourites?

LK: Watches a little bit on TV and has been to a few professional ladies tournaments but prefers to be out playing the game rather than being a spectator. Would definitely consider Seve Ballesteros to be a really big inspiration to her.

CR: Loves watching golf on TV when she gets the chance, especially the Solheim Cup. Her favourite golfers include Phil Mickleson, for his short game abilities, Charley Hull and Paula Creamer.

Do they get nervous when they know they have a good round going and are in contention in a competition?

LK: Is always nervous when playing in a competition but says as long as she always plays to the best of her ability that is all anyone, including herself, can ask.

CR: Performs extremely well under pressure and in the England Golf National Skills Challenge Final was far more relaxed than either her mother or father, declaring on the morning of the competition that she was “...just going to go and win it”. Deals very well with defeat, especially if she has played a decent round but has just been outplayed by her opponents.

What are their short- and long-term goals within golf?

LK: To continue bringing down her handicap and qualify for the England Under-16 squad.

CR: To reduce her handicap to single figures as soon as possible, and also to increase her distances in her long game.

Is it too early to consider wanting ultimately to be a professional tour golfer?

LK: Is very ambitious and has wanted to be a tour pro since day one. When she was younger she would tell her father, while out playing or practising, of her tour dreams and has always had her parents’ backing.

CR: Is working extremely hard towards that goal. However, she would also love to teach children how to play golf.