A young golfer from Accrington has made into the big time by winning a place at the British Open.
Nikki Foster, 19, is one of two English amateur women to have won a place at the tournament at Carnoustie – one of the biggest events in golf – with a stunning two-under-par 69 at a qualifying tournament in Panmure.
The teenage golfer travelled up to Carnoustie earlier this week – and even got to hit some practice balls with golfing superstar Michelle Wie on Wednesday.
Pleasington Golf Club member Nikki follows in the footsteps of her father and caddy, Trevor, who qualified for the men’s Open 23 years ago – it’s thought to be the first time that father and daughter have qualified for the Open.
Trevor even led the 1988 Open, held at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s, after 11 holes.
The tournament was eventually won by the late Seve Ballesteros.
Nikki, speaking before the tournament began yesterday (Thursday) from the 18th green at Carnoustie, said: "I’m really looking forward to it.
"I can’t wait to get going but at the same time I don’t want it to be over too quickly.
"I felt quite confident of getting through at Panmure. I was hitting the ball well, and wasn’t too nervous. I just tried to enjoy it really."
Dad Trevor added: "I never had a doubt that Nikki would qualify for the Open eventually.
"She played a great round at Panmure. She seemed totally confident and relaxed from start to finish – there were tears in my eyes when she qualified.
"When she was hitting balls with Michelle Wie, and then they had a photo together I thought ‘my daughter’s not doing badly here.’
"It was a great achievement to qualify for the Open when I was a player – but walking up the 18th green with Nikki will be the proudest moment of my life, no question about it."
The young golfer’s grandmother, Barbara Yates, speaking from behind the bar at Accrington Golf Club, said most of Nikki’s family had gone up to Scotland to cheer her on.
She said: "Both parents, plus her granddad have gone up there with her, so I am holding the fort here.
"It’s a great achievement to get to such a big tournament at such a young age, and we’ll all be looking out for her on the TV here at the club."