It may have been a disappointing night for Messrs Clarke, Donald and McIlroy but England’s Lauren Taylor, the youngest-ever British women’s champion, is the winner of the 2011 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
And her first thanks went to the English Women’s Golf Association for the support she has received.
Lauren, 17, drove women’s golf into the spotlight when she was presented with the award by athlete Jessica Ennis and Manchester City manager Robert Mancini during the live broadcast of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.
In the audience was Open champion Darren Clarke – who was runner-up in the Sports Personality of the Year Award, world number one Luke Donald , US Open champion Rory McIlroy andEurope’s winning Solheim Cup captain Alison Nicholas, together with members of her team.
Lauren told the audience: “It is such an honour to win this award. My thanks firstly to the English Women’s Golf Association for all their support, secondly to my special supporters at Woburn Golf Club – I wouldn’t be here without your help. Next my coach, Andy Dunbar, for all the hard work we put it – it got me that trophy.
“Then to my family and friends, especially my dad who caddied for me – it was a special moment when I won. Finally to the LGU for putting on a fantastic event.”
Lauren’s nomination for the award was supported by big names in golf, including Australian Masters champion Ian Poulter and Alison Nicholas.
EWGA chief executive Jim Robinson commented: “What a fantastic accolade for Lauren and for English women’s golf. This is a highlight of my career in women’s golf and will live with me for ever.”
The Woburn player won the 2011 British women’s amateur championship at Royal Portrush in June at the age of 16, becoming the youngest ever winner and breaking a record that had stood for 112 years.
She went on to play against the professionals in the Women’s British Open at Carnoustie, scoring two creditable rounds of 74. She also made a memorable debut on the Ladies European Tour when she qualified for the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open and had a hole-in one during the tournament.
In addition, Lauren was selected to be part of the European team which drew 12-12 with theUSAat the 2011PINGJunior Solheim Cup. She also helpedEnglandwin a girls’ European silver medal and the ladies’ Home Internationals. She has accepted a sports scholarship inDallas,Texas.
Lauren was one of three final contenders for the award, whittled down from an original shortlist of 10. Her challengers on the night were cyclist Lucy Garner and Paralympic swimmer Eleanor Simmonds.
The award is made to the outstanding young sportsperson aged 16 or under on 1January 2011. Previous winners include Tom Daley, Andy Murray, Wayne Rooney, Eleanor Simmonds and Theo Walcott.