Pikari realises dream to play for NZ
The Waikato Times will again this year bring you in-depth coverage of Waikato secondary school sport, its leading teams and individuals. Today, Kashka Tunstall starts the new term with a look at one of the country's bright new golf prospects.
At 13, Compton Pikari decided to focus all his time and energy on the golf course in a bid to make it as a pro.
It was a sacrifice – he was excelling in several sports and represented Waikato at age-level for touch, cricket and football, but he gave them all up for golf and the hope that one day he would represent his country at the sport.
Now, three years later, his efforts have paid off. Compton flies to Melbourne next month on his first overseas trip representing New Zealand in the Trans Tasman Cup against Australia alongside the likes of Lydia Ko.
"I'm pretty excited just to see what everyone else is like," he said of his Australian opponents.
"I've never been overseas to play before so I'm looking forward to it."
The 16-year-old St Peter's School student has garnered attention of late for his abilities on the green, performing well enough at national and interprovincial tournaments to catch the attention of national selectors and make the junior New Zealand squad.
"My goal was to get into the New Zealand team and I've just made that," he said, still a little shocked. But, always ready for a new challenge, he's now set his sights on a place in the senior squad.
"There's few tournaments in the next few months so I've got to see how that goes then I might make the senior New Zealand team. It all depends, but I've won three out of my last four tournaments, so it's been good."
He started off the year by winning the North Island under-19 tournament, something that gave him the confidence to progress to the higher levels.
"It's probably the biggest tournament I've won," he said.
"I won by quite a bit too and I'm only 16, so I won the under-17s as well and I think I might be the first person in quite a while to have won both. It was really good."
Compton practises for four hours a day, reaping the benefits of the St Peter's School golf course by practising during lunch times, after school or during his study period. He also has the added advantage of the course being near his home in Te Awamutu.
"For some people, it looks like he's coming out of nowhere but he's actually been there and he's learnt how to actually close it," St Peter's head golf coach Simon Thomas said. "He's got a huge future, he's immensely skilful. He wasn't born with it. He's had to work hard to get to where he is.
"He just loves the game, I think. He plays a lot of golf. He puts an incredible amount of time into it, that's really the main thing. What's that saying, focus married with time produces mastery? Well, he's on his way to mastery."