Young golfing superstar will represent Burnley at the World Junior Golf Championship

Watch out Rory McIlroy! A precocious young Burnley golfer is targeting the top after qualifying for the World Junior Golf Championship in Portugal.
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It has been an incredible journey for seven-year-old Ritchie Riley, from Briercliffe, who first picked up a plastic club when he was just three.

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Twelve months later, he was giving dad Kev a run for his money at pitch and putt, while attending group coaching with Niall Ormerod at Nelson Golf Club.

Ritchie with his Grandad Pete at NelsonRitchie with his Grandad Pete at Nelson
Ritchie with his Grandad Pete at Nelson
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It wasn’t long before the young golfer’s eye-catching natural ability was the talk of the greens, and at age five, he was given the green light to play the Nelson course, with dad and friends.

Last season, he began playing in competitions, winning three; often playing against boys as old as 15.

The clubbing cub was invited to enter the World Junior Golf Championship in Amendoeiras, Portugal, after finishing ninth in his age category on the British Junior Golf Tour.

As luck would have it, while there, he will also play in the European Masters just along the coast at Vilamoura.

Ritchie RileyRitchie Riley
Ritchie Riley
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And it isn’t just on the course where Ritchie, a pupil at St John the Divine Primary School, has been making a real impression. He raised more than £3,000 for Pendleside Hospice last year through a variety of fundraising activities, including bag packing at Sainsbury’s, alongside players from his Fulledge Colts football team, and a charity golf day.

"Ritchie has worked very hard and we are naturally really proud of what he has achieved,” said Kev. “We just want him to have fun doing it as so far that’s been the key to his success.

“Ritchie is keen to thank Wes, Dean and the team at Prairie Sports Village for their support, as well as Paul Mcevoy from Elite Golf Performance.”

The youngster will be supported in Portugal by his dad, mum Rachel, uncle and grandparents. Sisters, Millie (10) and Aria (two), will also be there cheering him on; Millie a keen golfer herself now after being inspired by her little brother. Kev is currently looking for a sponsor to help with tournament commitments. If any local businesses are interested, they can email [email protected].