Crossing Continents, Touching Hearts

They had crossed continents to be there but the long journey to Royal Lytham and St Annes was well worth it for an international group of youngsters visiting the venue of the Ricoh Women's British Open yesterday [28 July].

Invited to Britain by St Andrews based charity New Links, the 16 children from golf programs in Nairobi, Kenya, the First Tee of East Lake, Georgia, the First Tee of Fort Worth, Texas, and the Northern California Golf Association made a round trip of 500 miles from the Home of Golf to meet some of the top stars of the game and enjoy a VIP tour of the facilities at this season's final Major.

Marty Evans, acting commissioner of the LPGA, addressed the group in what was her first official public event since taking on the role two weeks ago.

"I think this is a fabulous program," she said.

In a wide ranging and candid talk, Marty spoke about her ambitions for the LPGA, calling it "a world tour", as well as her desire to get more young players into the game.

She reminded her young audience that there are many ways to make a contribution to the sport, saying: "There is a huge array of different careers in golf."

The kids left with a great collection of autographs, having met world number one Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Juli Inskter, Heather BowieYoung, Natalie Gulbis, Brittney Lincicome and Catriona Matthew.

They went on to enjoy a behind the scenes look at the tournament which has attracted the best field of the year and saw how the media prepares to broadcast coverage around the world.

The trip is part of the fourth annual youth visit to be funded by New Links. Previous participants have included the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation and Renee Powell's LPGA/USGA Girls' Golf school at Clearview, Ohio.

New Links co-founder Kenny Wood said: "New Links is dedicated to helping young people achieve their personal potential through international travel, education and the game of golf.

"We work with programs that support children from economically challenged backgrounds. I am thrilled to receive the endorsement of the LPGA and I look forward to working with them in the years ahead."

Mindy Moore of the LPGA said: "As the Tour becomes more global we are really focusing on cross-cultural programs that encourage diversity. New Links is a great program and we are happy to be a part of it."

Topics: Ricoh Women's British Open

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