JB's a Tiger for golf

IN THE SWING: JB drives 170 metres on average.
IN THE SWING: JB drives 170 metres on average.

Eleven-year-old JB Misa stalks a golf course like he's Tiger Woods.

He dresses like the legend, struts like the legend, oozes confidence like the legend. He even imagines he is the legend every time he's out on the course.

Now the 12-handicapper from Papakura via the Manukau and Wattle Downs golf clubs has the chance of taking a piece of Tiger.

YOUNG TIGER: JB Misa emulates his hero Tiger Woods on the golf course.
YOUNG TIGER: JB Misa emulates his hero Tiger Woods on the golf course.

He's hoping to win the 11-year-old boys section of the Junior Tiger Tournament finals at the Manawatu Golf Club on April 27, a victory that might well get him to the World Junior Golf Championships in San Diego in July.

"Winning the Junior Tiger will mean so much to him," his dad Billy says.

"The boy is infatuated with Tiger and his achievements. He has been living and breathing Tiger ever since he was about 5 years old.

"He watches every tournament that Tiger plays and knows just about everything there is to know about the man. Just this week he was explaining to me how Tiger's back injury will keep him out of the Masters.

"He's so disappointed he will probably not watch the Masters at all."

Misa senior says if there's anything good to come from his son's obsession with Tiger it's JB's drive for excellence.

"JB loves the game. The Manukau and Wattle Down clubs are his second homes. They've been his creche for years.

"Mum and I drop him off at the club on weekends or during the school holidays and he'll spend the entire day there.

"He'd rather spend the day practising or playing than going to the mall or playing video games."

JB has good reason to be cocky. He drives 170 metres on average. He gets 110m out of his five iron and 90-95m out of his seven iron and has a red-hot putter to go with it.

"I'm ready to go," he says about the Junior Tiger Tournament final.

"Accuracy, concentration and a good start will be key. This is a nine-hole tournament. There's no coming back from a mistake.

"I was crushed at losing by one shot last year and that's made me more determined than ever to win this year's title.

"I've worked really hard for this over the last five years and it will be really great to pull it off.

"This is my last crack at winning the title for 11-year-olds."

JB earned his ticket to the national final by winning the Junior Tiger Auckland tournament on his home course by five shots on March 16.

The margin of victory was a near-repeat of last year when he won the same qualifying tournament at the Grange Golf Club in Papatoetoe by an impressive four shots.

The Manawatu final will feature Joseph Hancock of the Waikouaiti Golf Club in Otago - he beat JB by one shot to win last year's title - and Jayden Ford of the Titahi Golf Club in Porirua, the lad JB rates as one of the best young prospects in New Zealand.

JB says he'll be counting on his experience of playing at the World Junior Championships at Pinehurst in North Carolina as an 8-year-old to calm his nerves.

Papakura Courier