Handicaps tumble on the course for Freya and Daniel

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Two teenage golfers who between them have sliced 14 shots off their playing handicaps this year have been named as Leighton Buzzard’s most improved players of the year.

Cedars students Freya Daniels, 14, and Year 9 Upper school colleague Ben Proud both reduced their handicaps by seven shots – Freya from 18 to 11, and Ben from 24 to 17 – during a year in which they both won Bedfordshire Schools golf championships.

Although she started playing golf at the age of nine, Totternoe-based Freya only joined the Leighton club earlier this year to spend more time practicing with Club professional Maurice Campbell. Since then she has bagged club trophies, two County titles and was pipped for a third in a sudden-death shoot- out.

During the summer, Freya became the eighth Leighton Buzzard club junior to win the County Schools championship since it started in 1998, and in the Autumn, was crowned County Schools Under 16s scratch champion.

She also finished top girl in the Leighton club junior championships but lost out in the three-way play-off in the final of the Bedfordshire Junior girls championship.

Woburn Sands-based Ben, whose grandfather Danny and uncles Derek Shaw and Tim and Paul Hobday play at the Plantation Road club, only got involved in golf last year.

In 12 months, he slashed his handicap from 54 to 31 and has now achieved his goal for the year of getting under 20.

Ben won the Bedfordshire Schools High Handicap Championship with a staggering 46 point haul, 29 of them carded on the back nine holes at the Mount Pleasant club. He faced Freya in the final of the David Down singles trophy, with Freya taking the honours in a hard-fought final.

She also won the Millennium Foursomes Shield when she teamed up with 12-year-old Gilbert Inglefield student Brandon Waddington to beat defending champions Shin Bateman and Ollie Banwell in the final.