Child golfer not so green
Pint-sized prodigy off to world champsJULIAN LEE
Nine-year-old golfer John Misa is about to do his home town proud on the international stage.
The kid from Wattle Downs is now playing at adult level and has qualified for the World Junior Golfing Championships at the prestigious Pinehurst Golf Course in North Carolina.
John's been playing since he was just two years old and has been trying to qualify for the world champs since he was seven.
He needed to hit 88 on a slightly shortened version of a full 18-hole course and easily beat that target with a 79.
He was ecstatic when he heard the news from US Kids, the international golfing body which allowed him to enter.
"I was really amazed. I have been working hard for two years now.''
John has high hopes for a future career in golf, starting with the Junior World Championships.
"I think I'll do well if I keep my act together. I will be one of the greatest!''
The student at St Anne's Catholic Parish in Manurewa will continue to juggle homework with his budding golfing career for now.
His dad Billy Misa says he deserves to qualify for the world championships.
"He's worked so hard for it.''
Misa said his son's average drive is 147 metres, an impressive feat for a nine-year-old. Father and son are committed to improving John's game.
"We've had to throw out the old driver we bought because we were losing consistency,'' Misa said.
John's success attracts concern from other young golfers when he plays at Wattle Downs golf course.
"All of the other juniors don't want to play with him because they don't want to get beaten.''
Wattle Downs course manager Keith Hoggarth says Misa was a good caddy for his son.
"He doesn't work him too hard and he makes sure that he has fun.''
At an 89 average John's well on his way to becoming a great golfer, Hoggarth said.
"He's only three shots behind his father.''
If John keeps up his game he should be parring the Wattle Downs course by the time he's 14, Hoggarth said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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