This year we planned to play in five tournaments in the United States and I left early in June for the first tournament the Pepsi Littlepeoples Championship. I received a big surprise when I boarded the plane with my mom (my dad was coming later) as we were in business class. My dad managed to cash all his miles on his voyager and American express card to get us these seats. I was so happy and my dad and mom are special to give this to me. It was our winter and we flew nearly 19 hours into Washington and then onto St Louis and drove up to Quincy for the Pepsi Littlepeoples Championship. We stayed at our favorite place, The Stoney Creek Inn. It is a real great Inn and has a wonderful pool.
PEPSI LITTLEPEOPLES CHAMPIONSHIP
19 -21 June – Quincy Illinois
The last time I played here was in 2004 and finished third in the 6-7 Age Division. We arrived and practiced for four days but I struggled off the tees and mostly to the right. We were playing at the Westview Golf Course and it was very important to keep your drives in the middle of the fairways as the they slope to the right. This is where my ball was ending up. In the first day of competition I played my second shots well as I had to after my driver was always going right and we could not fix it. I was only two over before the last hole and then got cross after two bad shots and then went onto triple bogey the hole. I know I was cross and then caused me to not follow my routine and my putting was bad on the last hole. I learnt a valuable lesson from that.
On the second day my driver was a little better and played well but my putts did not fall. This was my downfall on day two and eventually finished on a 38 and with first day 41 finished in twelfth position on 79. I know I could have played better but as each game goes by you learn a little more. I still had a lot of fun I also played in the two team events on the Thursday and the Friday and our team finished second and third respectfully on these two days. These competitions were initiated by Nan Ryan after the Craig Lamporte Memorial was cancelled in 2004. It is a great event and is similar to the Ryder Cup format so you also meet many new friends. I now leave to drive with my mom up the Country Youth Classic in Bloomington, Illinois.
COUNTRY YOUTH CLASSIC
26-28 June – Bloomington, Illinois
It was another opportunity to play on another course in the United States and was the 23 rd different course I have played there. It is always a treat to play on these courses and I have a collection of pitch repairers, caps as well as markers from each course.
We played the Highland Park Golf Club and recorded a first round 38 which was four off the pace in fifth place and played an average game with my driver having improved a lot. This was after we phoned my dad who was still in South Africa and he told me to line up more square as I was tending to put my left foot to far forward.
Then as my mom says “all hell broke loose” as I thought I was stung by a bee while playing after day one. At 02:00 am the next morning I woke up crying and my hand was swollen badly. My mom put ice on it and anti histamine cream to try and reduce the swelling. I could not get to sleep and in the morning the swelling had gone down slightly. My mom would not allow me to practice before the game as my hand was sore. I wanted to but she said no. I teed off but miss hit the ball badly and the next three shots. On the second hole the club flew out my hand and the swelling was back and badly and I could not hold a club.
The marshals came over and said I must stop as did my mom. I said no and wanted to play but the marshal was quite strict and said I cannot continue and therefore had to withdraw. I still walked as a marker to the end and then told my mom she can take me to the hospital. I was taken to St Josephs where I spent four hours under observation while they were trying to find out what caused the swelling. They eventually gave me injection and said it must have been a spider and I was to stop playing and watch the swelling. We left Bloomington the next day for Chicago and went to see another doctor as the swelling still was not done and there was a red line up my arm. However after five days it had almost retuned to normal but the finger (where the bite was) was still numb and swollen.
I did not touch a club for the next two weeks. We then flew from Chicago to San Diego for the Callaway World Championship.
CALLAWAY WORLD CHAMPIONHIP
18 -20 July – San Diego, California
My dad finally arrived to spend the last three weeks with us and was shocked to see my finger still not healed. We went to the driving range but could see quite quickly I had lost about 20% distance on all my clubs.
We then went for a practice round on the Welk Resort Golf Club and struggled on some of the Par 3’s but seemed to be okay on the Par 4’s except one, about 300 yards which I could not reach in two.
Day one was an up and down day and first time I had to caddy for myself which was not bad at all. I battled with distance as sometimes I would hit a 8 iron 112 yards and the next time only 90 yards and battled to grip the club properly. However it was not that bad but did not play well at all shooting a 72.
The next day I played the same kind of game and put myself into a lot of trouble being right a lot and ended on another round of 72 and missed the cut. I was playing the 9-10 age category and still nine so was not to concerned as there is always a next and I know I can do well as last year where I finished second in the world championships. We had another break and went to Disneyland in Los Angeles before going to Pinehurst in North Carolina. I also played to really great course on the hills looking over Los Angeles, call Black Gold and Coyote Hills.